Monday, April 24, 2017

"...the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted…"

The Cryptoscatological Quote of the Day:
It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted… secretly, it was being dictated instead by the needs of technology… by a conspiracy between human beings and techniques, by something that needed the energy-burst of war, crying, “Money be damned, the very life of [insert name of Nation] is at stake,” but meaning, most likely, dawn is nearly here, I need my night’s blood, my funding, funding, ahh more, more… . The real crises were crises of allocation and priority, not among firms—it was only staged to look that way—but among the different Technologies, Plastics, Electronics, Aircraft, and their needs which are understood only by the ruling elite…

Yes but Technology only responds (how often this argument has been iterated, dogged and humorless as a Gaussian reduction, among the younger Schwarzkommando especially), “All very well to talk about having a monster by the tail, but do you think we’d’ve had the Rocket if someone, some specific somebody with a name and a penis hadn’t wanted to chuck a ton of Amatol 300 miles and blow up a block full of civilians? Go ahead, capitalize the T on technology, deify it if it’ll make you feel less responsible—but it puts you in with the neutered, brother, in with the eunuchs keeping the harem of our stolen Earth for the numb and joyless hardons of human sultans, human elite with no right at all to be where they are—”

We have to look for power sources here, and distribution networks we were never taught, routes of power our teachers never imagined, or were encouraged to avoid… we have to find meters whose scales are unknown in the world, draw our own schematics, getting feedback, making connections, reducing the error, trying to learn the real function… zeroing in on what incalculable plot? Up here, on the surface, coaltars, hydrogenation, synthesis were always phony, dummy functions to hide the real, the planetary mission yes perhaps centuries in the unrolling… this ruinous plant, waiting for its Kabbalists and new alchemists to discover the Key, teach the mysteries to others…
--Thomas Pynchon, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW (1973), p. 521

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Third Eye Spies

Presenting the teaser for Lance Mungia and Russell Targ's forthcoming documentary entitled THIRD EYE SPIES....

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Murder of Diana Ziegler

Here's a particularly strange story from Liz Evans Scolforo of The York Dispatch in Pennsylvania. Entitled "Police:  Jackson Twp. Man Said He Killed His Wife to 'Save the World,'" the report begins as follows:

"John D. Ziegler III told detectives he killed his pregnant wife with a sword because she was the 'queen bee' of a race of hybrid humans that was taking over the world, according to testimony from his preliminary hearing Friday morning.

"'(He said) he needed to destroy her to save the world,' Northern York County Regional Police Detective Mark Baker testified, adding that Ziegler also told him that 'he thought he did the right thing.'

"Ziegler, 31, called 911 shortly after 4 p.m. Jan. 27 and announced he'd killed 25-year-old Diana Ziegler, police have said [...]." 

To read the entirety of Scolforo's 3-17-17 report, click HERE.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Richard Schowengerdt Speaks in Garden Grove

Richard Schowengerdt, the visionary inventor who plays such an important role in my book CHAMELEO, is delivering a lecture next Tuesday night at the Garden Grove Masonic Lodge at 7:00 P.M.  This presentation is a public event that's open to any interested parties, not just Freemasons.  The title of Schowengerdt's lecture is as follows:  "Relationship of the Kabbala to the DoD Acquisition Cycle:  Ancient Esoteric Philosophy as the Root of Modern Creative Systems."  Below Schowengerdt discusses the lecture in his own words:  

"I will be making a presentation next Tuesday, 25 April 2017, at the Garden Grove Lodge on a subject dear to my heart, the creative process as outlined in the Jewish Kabbala and also exemplified in the Department of Defense Acquisition Cycle.  It is only natural and expected that the Kabbala would serve as a model for all creative acts and particularly one that spends billions every year on the most sophisticated systems in the world.
"I am delighted that the Masonic Education Coordinator, Brother Adam Buttons, at the Garden Grove Lodge has made this a public event because the universal exercise of creative processes are not limited to a select few.  Therefore, I hope most of you will be able to attend and participate in this most interesting and stimulating program.  Feel free to pass along this message to anyone else who you think would be interested in the event.  If you plan to arrive in time for the Refreshments prior to the presentation, please notify Brother Adam Buttons at so there will be enough for everyone."

Monday, April 17, 2017

More on Sharyl Attkisson

From Jon Rappoport's 4-16-17 No More Fake News article entitled "U.S. Presidents Can Grant Immunity to Snooping Spies":

"Sharyl Attkisson, former CBS investigative reporter, recently spoke with 'a small group of reliable, formerly high-placed intelligence officials.' They tipped her to surveillance tactics in the arsenal of intel agencies.

"Attkisson: 'U.S. Presidents have the power to issue secret presidential directives that can authorize otherwise illegal acts (theoretically in the country’s best interests). These directives may come with pre-planned cover stories to be used in the event the operation is exposed, and they come with indemnity for those involved, giving them permission to lie about the operation or their involvement without fear of prosecution… The public will rarely know about such presidential directives since most who see them must sign agreements that promise nondisclosure and consent to polygraphs.'

"That’s a blockbuster revelation.

"Guaranteed immunity for those involved in the spying/surveillance operation (and other types of operations).

"Plus permission for agents to lie about being involved.

"All in the interest of 'national security.' Unless it isn’t. Unless a president wants to enact revenge on a personal enemy, or commit a financial crime, or win an election, or protect a friend, or serve his elite bosses, or advance a corporate goal, or…pretty much anything.

"He can act like a king.

"One of Attkisson’s intelligence sources told her the following: 'If the work of targeting an individual cannot be accomplished by government intel officers, it can be contracted out to third parties or to foreign parties who aren’t bound by U.S. law.'"

To read the rest of Rappoport's article, click HERE.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

MIT Grad Arrested on Terrorism Charges

From Daniella Silva's 4-6-17 NBC News article entitled "MIT Grad Nicolai Mork Arrested on Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction Charges" (note, in particular, paragraph seven):

"An MIT graduate was arrested on charges of terrorism and possession of weapons of mass destruction, authorities said late Wednesday — and his mother told NBC News she believes her son suffered a 'mental breakdown.'

"Nicolai Howard Mork, 40, was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday in Las Vegas on charges related to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, Las Vegas police said. He was arrested without incident at his home Wednesday night, police said. 

"Bail was set a $1 million per count, for a total of $8 million, according to court documents. 

"Mork is accused of planting several incendiary devices, such as Molotov cocktails, to be ignited in multiple locations in the Las Vegas area from Oct. 24 to Dec. 31, 2016, according to the indictment. He was also charged with possessing components of an incendiary device with the intent to manufacture an explosive, and with possessing a Walther P22 .22 caliber handgun with an altered serial number and a silencer. 

"Deputy Chief Chris Jones, director of the Las Vegas police Homeland Security Division, told NBC News on Thursday that investigators found at least eight explosive devices in two residential neighborhoods in Las Vegas beginning in late October.

"'We started seeing this pattern as these devices were deployed and then similarities in the devices and the substances that they were constructed out of,' he said. 

"'It appears that his actions were basically focused on grievances that he had based on perceived wrongdoings,' Jones said. 'He thought people were following him. He thought certain groups were following him.'

"Jones said some of the devices had 'partially exploded, some had partially ignited and others were still intact.' No one was hurt, he added. 

"Mork's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

"The suspect's mother, Joan Mork, 70, told NBC News that she believed her son had suffered 'some sort of mental breakdown' and that he was acting paranoid the last time she saw him. 

"'We believe that he has had some sort of mental breakdown or an enormous shift in his usual thinking, and we hope, with all our hearts, that he will get the help he needs and not just be punished,' she said from her home in Duluth, Minnesota, on Thursday.

"'This is a young man — he's in his 40s now — but he was always brilliant and had many kinds of distinctions throughout his time and in our home and in college,' she said. 

"She said that Mork was 'extremely afraid and angry' with the Church of Scientology and that he believed he was being monitored by members of the group."

To read the rest of Silva's article, click HERE.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Edinburgh University Press has just released THE FILMS OF BUDD BOETTICHER edited by Gary D. Rhodes and Robert Singer.  THE FILMS OF BUDD BOETTICHER includes an article by Yours Truly entitled "The Box in the Desert:  Budd Boetticher, Breaking Bad, and the 21st Century Western," which covers several of Boetticher's cult classics such as Behind Locked Doors, Comanche Station, Decision at Sundown, Ride Lonesome, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, and Seven Men from Now.

Here's the jacket copy:  "One of the most important yet overlooked of Hollywood auteurs, Budd Boetticher was responsible for a number of classic films, including his famous 'Ranown' series of westerns starring Randolph Scott. With influential figures like Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood acknowledging Boetticher's influence, and with growing academic interest in his work, Gary D. Rhodes and Robert Singer present a vital collection of essays on the director's long career, from a range of international scholars. Looking at celebrated films like Buchanan Rides Alone (1958) and Comanche Station (1960), as well as at lesser-known works like Escape in the Fog (1945) and Behind Locked Doors (1948), this book also addresses Boetticher's influential television work on the James Garner series Maverick, and Boetticher's continuing aesthetic influence on contemporary TV classics like Breaking Bad."

If you wish to order a copy of THE FILMS OF BUDD BOETTICHER, click HERE.

A brief postscript for all you budding writers out there:  While researching "The Box in the Desert," I happened to stumble across an extensive interview with Vince Gilligan, creator and head writer of Breaking Bad.  The following excerpt from that interview is well worth watching.  There are many lessons here about the advantages of persistence.  More importantly, there are even better lessons about pursuing the idea you’re passionate about (even if it’s deemed “non-commercial”) rather than trying to scope out the marketplace and dream up an idea that’s merely “sellable."  Click HERE if you want to watch the interview.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gangstalking in Battle Ground?

From Jessica Prokop's 4-6-17 The Columbian article entitled "Murder Trial Gets Underway with Opening Statements:  Battle Ground Man Accused in August 2015 Altercation at Storage Facility":

"A prosecutor told jurors Thursday that a man accused of beating another man to death with an aluminum baseball bat could not have been acting in self-defense.

"Stephen Reichow, 35, struck Brandon Maulding nearly 20 times in the head with the bat during an altercation Aug. 1, 2015, outside a storage facility in Battle Ground, Deputy Prosecutor James Smith said during opening statements in Reichow’s murder trial in Clark County Superior Court.

"The two Battle Ground men were acquaintances. Maulding, who was 36, was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Smith argued that the level of violence indicates it was not self-defense.

"'A picture can be worth a thousand words, and I think this picture says a lot,' Smith said as he flashed a grisly photo of Maulding’s body across a large screen. 'He beat him to a pulp.'

"Reichow’s defense attorney, Sean Downs, argued that there are two sides to every story and 'sometimes three, four, five. It’s not always going to fit together perfectly for you,' he told the jury.

"What the attorneys do seem to agree on is that Reichow and Maulding had been hanging out earlier in the day. They were picked up by another friend, Anne Tanninen, from Maulding’s house and went to a storage unit that Tanninen had rented.

"The trio was inside the storage space when Tanninen received a strange phone call, Smith said, from someone talking about $5,000, drugs and picking something up. He said both Reichow and Tanninen shared paranoid beliefs about the world, and they thought they were being 'gang stalked.' Gang stalking can include being harassed by an organized group of people."

To read the rest of Prokop's article, click HERE.

Jon Rappoport on the the Sharyl Attkisson Case

From Jon Rappoport's 4-6-17 article entitled "Bombshell:  How Far Did Obama Spying Go?":

...former CBS star investigative reporter, Sharyl Attkisson [...] has sued members of the Obama team and several federal agencies. That lawsuit has just been referred to another venue by the judge in the case. He could have dismissed the suit, but he didn’t. He wants it to proceed. He wants Attkisson to have her day in court. 

You might remember Attkisson was uncovering highly embarrassing details about the gun-walking operation, Fast & Furious, and the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi. She was making the Obama administration extremely uncomfortable. 

But let me quote Judge Emet Sullivan’s recent order transferring Attkisson’s suit:

“In 2011——at the same time that Ms. Attkisson was conducting investigations and issuing certain of her high-profile news reports——the Attkissons ‘began to notice anomalies in numerous electronic devices at their home in Virginia.’ These anomalies included Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer and a family desktop computer ‘turning on and off at night without input from anyone in the household,’ ‘the house alarm chirping daily at different times,’ and ‘television problems, including interference.’ All of these electronic devices used ‘the Verizon FiOS line installed in [the Attkissons’] home,’ but Verizon was unable to stanch the anomalous activity despite multiple attempts. In January 2012, the Attkissons’ residential internet service ‘began constantly dropping off’.”

“In February 2012, ‘sophisticated surveillance spyware’ was installed on Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer. A later forensic computer analysis revealed that Ms. Attkisson’s laptop and the family’s desktop computer had been the ‘targets of unauthorized surveillance efforts.’ That same forensic analysis revealed that Ms. Attkisson’s mobile phone was also targeted for surveillance when it was connected to the family’s desktop computer. The infiltration of that computer and the extraction of information from it was ‘executed via an IP address owned, controlled, and operated by the United States Postal service.’ Additionally, based on the sophisticated nature of the software used to carry out the infiltration and software fingerprints indicating the use of the federal government’s proprietary software, the infiltration and surveillance appeared to be perpetrated by persons in the federal government.”

“An independent forensic computer analyst hired by CBS subsequently reported finding evidence on both Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer and her family’s desktop computer of ‘a coordinated, highly-skilled series of actions and attacks directed at the operation of the computers.’ Computer forensic analysis also indicated that remote actions were taken in December 2012 to remove the evidence of the electronic infiltration and surveillance from Ms. Attkisson’s computers and other home electronic equipment.”

“As Ms. Attkisson’s investigations and reporting continued, in October 2012 the Attkissons noticed ‘an escalation of electronic problems at their personal residence, including interference in home and mobile phone lines, computer interference, and television interference.’ In November of that year, Ms. Attkisson’s mobile phones ‘experienced regular interruptions and interference, making telephone communications unreliable, and, at times, virtually impossible’.”

“Additionally, in December 2012, a person with government intelligence experience conducted an inspection of the exterior of the Attkissons’ Virginia home. That investigator discovered an extra Verizon FiOS fiber optics line. Soon thereafter, after a Verizon technician was instructed by Ms. Attkisson to leave the extra cable at the home, the cable disappeared, and the Attkissons were unable to determine what happened to it. In March 2013, the Attkissons’ desktop computer malfunctioned, and in September of that year, while Ms. Attkisson was working on a story at her home, she observed that her personal laptop computer was remotely accessed and controlled, resulting in data being deleted from it. On April 3, 2013, Ms. Attkisson filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. The Inspector General’s investigation was limited to an analysis of the compromised desktop computer, and the partially-released report that emerged from that investigation reported ‘no evidence of intrusion,’ although it did note ‘a great deal of advanced mode computer activity not attributable to Ms. Attkisson or anybody in her household’.”

“The Attkissons allege that the ‘cyber-attacks’ they ‘suffered in [their] home’ were perpetrated by ‘personnel working on behalf of the United States.’ Accordingly, they have asserted various claims against the United States and against former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, and unknown agents of the Department of Justice, the United States Postal Service, and the United States, all in their individual capacities. Those claims include claims against the United States under the FTCA and claims against the individual federal officers for violations of constitutional rights under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)…”

To read Rappoport's entire article, click HERE.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"That Was Some Weird Shit"

From Yashar Ali's 3-29-17 New York Magazine post entitled "What George W. Bush Really Thought of Donald Trump's Inauguration":

"The inauguration of Donald Trump was a surreal experience for pretty much everyone who witnessed it [...]. Following Trump’s short and dire speech, [George W.] Bush departed the scene and never offered public comment on the ceremony.

"But, according to three people who were present, Bush gave a brief assessment of Trump’s inaugural after leaving the dais: 'That was some weird shit.' All three heard him say it.

"A spokesman for Bush declined to comment."

 To read Ali's entire post, please click HERE.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cory Doctorow on Stasi Tactics

What follow are a few relevant excerpts from Cory Doctorow's 3-29-17 Boing Boing post entitled "How East Germany's Stasi Tried to Drive Activists Insane, and How They Resisted": 

"East Germany's secret police, the Stasi, were the most aggressive surveillance force of their day -- at the Stasi's peak, one in 60 East Germans was snitching for the agency.

"The tactics that the Stasi deployed to recruit informants -- blackmail, cash, patriotism, immunity from prosecution, and gamification -- are less interesting than the things the Stasi did to their adversaries, inflicting mental torture of various types to drive the opposition to attack itself, or simply give up.

"Just by spreading rumors about the existence of informants, the Stasi were able to drive a wedge into the opposition, as activists turned their suspicions on one another.

"But by forming circles of trust and mutual aid, demonstrating intergroup solidarity, and deploying active countermeasures, a resistance was able to form and, eventually, depose the hated, oppressive government and its army of spies."

To read Doctorow's post in its entirety, please click HERE.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bunny Rabbits and Nuclear Armageddon: The Misadventures of Dr. Sidney Gottlieb

What follow are the first few paragraphs of Sharon Weinberger's 3-21-17 article entitled "The Bunny, the Witch, and the War Room" (an excerpt from Weinberger's new book, The Imagineers of War:  The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency that Changed the World):

"Among the Stanford Research Institute’s many classified research projects in the early 1970s was a contract supported by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Technical Service, a division headed by Sidney Gottlieb, perhaps the most notorious scientist ever to work for the spy agency. The secret program was testing different forms of parapsychology, such as whether humans had the ability to use their minds to visualize or even influence remote objects. Believing the work was showing promise, Gottlieb one day invited the director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), Stephen Lukasik, over to his CIA office to discuss it.

"Gottlieb, a chemist by training, was both an unconventional thinker and an unwavering patriot, who believed his work served the good of the nation. 'Friends and enemies alike say Mr. Gottlieb was a kind of genius, striving to explore the frontiers of the human mind for his country,' read the 1999 New York Times obituary of Gottlieb, 'while searching for religious and spiritual meaning in his life.' In the end, however, Gottlieb would be remembered most for what looked like a willful contempt of common decency.

"As the head of the Office of Technical Service, Gottlieb led a wing of the CIA whose failed innovations to assassinate the Cuban leader Fidel Castro included poison pens and exploding seashells. He also worked on one of the agency’s most notorious projects: the use of LSD as a mind-control drug. Under Gottlieb’s supervision, LSD was tested on unwitting human guinea pigs, including, among other unfortunate victims, the mentally ill, prostitutes, and even one army scientist who later committed suicide. When the program was first exposed in 1975 by the Rockefeller Commission, and then detailed by the congressional Church Committee, Gottlieb’s public legacy as some sort of mad scientist was all but assured.

"The day Lukasik went to visit Gottlieb—in 1971, as Lukasik recalls it—the CIA scientist was in fine form. What Gottlieb wanted to discuss was bunny rabbits and nuclear Armageddon."

To read the rest of Weinberger's article, please click HERE.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Terrorism Liaison Officer Information Network

Anyone interested in government mass surveillance, the main subject of my book CHAMELEO, should take the time to check out the Terrorism Liaison Officer Information Network.  Here's a brief excerpt from the Network's website:

"What is the origin of the TLO Program?

"Shortly after 9/11, the police chiefs in South Bay, California organized a Terrorism Advisory Group as an effort apart from the existing Los Angeles County Terrorism Early Warning Group (TEW). One of the concepts that came out of this effort was that each agency designated a Terrorism Liaison Officer. These officers became the central point of contact for all terrorism-related information for their respective agencies. But there were limitations.

"Recognizing the extraordinary potential for the TLO Program to be a force-multiplier in countering the threat of terrorism, the concept was adopted by the Los Angeles County TEW. The model proved to be a tremendous success and has now expanded nationwide. Fusion Centers are now the principal points of coordination for the TLO Program.

"Because the multi-disciplinary approach to information sharing is vital to the success of any terrorism-related response, the TLO Program has been expanded to include fire department and public health representatives."

Please note that Terrorism Liaison Officers are trained by the staff of the Joint Regional Intelligence Center.  On the main page of the JRIC's website we find the following information (significantly, this is the only question listed under the heading "Frequently Asked Questions"):  "IF I AM NOT A MEMBER OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, FIRE/EMS OR PUBLIC HEALTH CAN I RECEIVE TRAINING?"  Their answer to that question is, of course, "YES," followed by a link to the website of InfraGard.  In case that name doesn't ring a bell, I briefly mentioned InfraGard's alleged connection to unconstitutional mass surveillance programs in Part Three of my five-part article entitled "A World of Stalking Fools."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bernie Wrightson, R.I.P. (1948-2017)

Earlier today I learned about the death of artist Bernie Wrightson, co-creator (with writer Len Wein) of the legendary 1970s comic book, SWAMP THING.  Wein and Wrightson's still-astonishing ten-issue run on SWAMP THING is currently available in an affordable paperback collection entitled ROOTS OF THE SWAMP THING.  

Perhaps of even greater significance, however, is Wrightson's 1983 version of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, which (from my perspective) represents the definitive illustrated edition of Shelley's classic tale.  You can read Wrightson's official obituary, as prepared by his widow, by clicking HERE.

I recommend watching Wrightson speak about his work in Ken Viola's excellent 1987 documentary MASTERS OF COMIC BOOK ART, which includes interviews with other icons of the comic book field such as Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Kirby, and Moebius (Wrightson appears at around 31:50).  This documentary is available in its entirety on YouTube and can be seen directly below:

Monday, March 13, 2017

The League of Economic Royalists

From Carole Cadwalladr's 2-26-17 Guardian article entitled "Robert Mercer:  The Big Data Billionaire Waging War on Mainstream Media":

"...the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer [...] is the money behind Donald Trump. But then [...] Robert Mercer is the money behind an awful lot of things. He was Trump’s single biggest donor. Mercer started backing Ted Cruz, but when [Cruz] fell out of the presidential race he threw his money – $13.5m of it – behind the Trump campaign.
"It’s money he’s made as a result of his career as a brilliant but reclusive computer scientist. He started his career at IBM, where he made what the Association for Computational Linguistics called 'revolutionary' breakthroughs in language processing – a science that went on to be key in developing today’s AI – and later became joint CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund that makes its money by using algorithms to model and trade on the financial markets.
"One of its funds, Medallion, which manages only its employees’ money, is the most successful in the world – generating $55bn so far. And since 2010, Mercer has donated $45m to different political campaigns – all Republican – and another $50m to non-profits – all rightwing, ultra-conservative. This is a billionaire who is, as billionaires are wont, trying to reshape the world according to his personal beliefs.
"Robert Mercer very rarely speaks in public and never to journalists, so to gauge his beliefs you have to look at where he channels his money: a series of yachts, all called Sea Owl; a $2.9m model train set; climate change denial (he funds a climate change denial thinktank, the Heartland Institute); and what is maybe the ultimate rich man’s plaything – the disruption of the mainstream media. In this he is helped by his close associate Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign manager and now chief strategist. The money he gives to the Media Research Center, with its mission of correcting 'liberal bias' is just one of his media plays [...]."
To read the entirety of Cadwalladr's article, click HERE.
What follow are some relevant excerpts from Thom Hartmann's 3-12-17 Raw Story article entitled "Right-wing Billionaires Want to Rewrite Our Constitution--and They're Frighteningly Close to Pulling It Off":
"Billionaires and the groups they fund are working to rewrite our Constitution to provide corporations and the rich with more and more protections and benefits, and chop away at anything smelling of 'socialism' like Social Security or child labor laws.
"The fact is that they’re just a few states away from meeting their goal, and have already held dress rehearsals in Washington D.C.—with representatives from all 50 states—for a Constitutional Convention that would change America forever.
"The Constitution (arguably) provides for three ways to change or amend itself. The first is that Congress can propose a constitutional amendment, pass it with a supermajority in both houses, and have three-quarters of the states ratify it. This is the way it’s been done for every one of the existing 27 amendments.
"The second strategy is done by using Article 5 of the Constitution and driving the process up from the states. The easiest way to do this is for three-quarters of the states to legislatively approve (with majority votes in each state) an amendment, in which case Congress is unnecessary and upon ratification by the 38th state, it becomes a permanent amendment to the Constitution.
"While this strategy has never been used, it’s why many of the good government groups like Move To Amend and Public Citizen are pushing for a 'Corporations are not people, and money is not speech' amendment.
"The third—and incredibly dangerous—strategy to amend the Constitution is to simply call a 'Convention of the States,' again using Article 5, and open the entire document itself up to rewriting and tinkering through the brute-force method of multiple amendments that can effectively rewrite any part of the Constitution.
"This third strategy is the one being used right now, as you’re reading these words, in a very well-funded effort by right-wing oligarchs. If they can pull it off in the states (where it’s cheaper to buy politicians), then Congress, the president and even the courts would have no say over it.
"Their goal appears to be to put into the Constitution specific prohibitions against any programs (from Social Security to Medicare to food stamps) that they’ve always viewed as 'unconstitutional socialism,' and to permanently enshrine in the Constitution the 'right' of corporations and billionaires to own politicians and spend unlimited monies to influence elections and ballot measures. It would effectively turn America into a feudal state owned by the people FDR called the 'economic royalists.'"
To read the entirety of Hartmann's article, click HERE.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Ticks of Skull Island

Today marks the release of Jordan Vogt-Roberts' KONG:  SKULL ISLAND, yet another doomed attempt to recapture the magic of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's KING KONG (1933).  Needless to say, any rational film critic would include the original KING KONG in the top ten list of the greatest movies ever made.  Up to this point, several attempts to remake KING KONG--which, by the way, was one of Adolf Hitler's favorite films (according to Ben Urwand of the Daily Mail, the German dictator watched the film "over and over again")--have all failed miserably. 

The only way to pay proper homage to a cultural touchstone as iconic as KING KONG is not to attempt a replication of the original experience, but instead to wield the archetype as a cineliterary tool in order to deliver an urgent and much more relevant message to the collective unconscious of the twenty-first century.  I myself attempted to pull off such a trick back in 2010 when Rudy Rucker published my short story "Ticks" (6,800 words) in the ninth issue of his groundbreaking science fiction magazine, FLURB.  It was gratifying to appear on the same Table of Contents page with such accomplished writers as Paul Di Filippo, Richard A. Lupoff, Kathe Koja, Carter Scholz, and Rucker himself.  I think I succeeded in my goal, as "Ticks" received an Honorable Mention that year from none other than Ellen Datlow, editor of THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR and many other fine anthologies of the fantastique.  If you'd prefer to judge for yourself, however, feel free to peruse the opening two chapters of my humble tale directly below:  


by Robert Guffey

Story Copyright (C) 2010, Robert Guffey 


John Driscoll entered the hospital room, his hat held respectfully in his hands. The nurse pointed at Ann Darrow, sleeping in the room’s solitary bed, and whispered, “She’s been out for the past two hours.” Despite the hordes of dead and dying overflowing into the halls, they had been kind enough to give her her own room. The room smelled sterile and bitter, like disinfectant. Nothing at all like the ocean.

Somewhere behind him, down the hall, he could hear an old man groaning in pain.

Driscoll twisted the brim of his hat nervously. “Is... is she going to be all right?”

The nurse smiled. “The doctor says she’s going to be fine. She’s just tired is all.” Driscoll breathed a sigh of relief. The nurse continued, “I’ll let you stay, as long as you don’t try to wake her.”

“Oh, of course, of course.”

“Normally I wouldn’t let you do this, but... well, you’ve been through a lot.”

Driscoll laughed, the first time he’d done so in a long time. “Well, ma’am, I guess you can say that again.”

The nurse patted his shoulder blade, then began to leave the room.

“Wait,” Driscoll said. The nurse paused in the doorway. “Uh, I was just wondering….” He didn’t know how to say it. “About Ann… was she…?” The nurse was staring at him expectantly. “Was she… harmed in any way?”

The nurse furrowed her brow. “No. I just said: she’s fine.”

“No, I know. But I mean, was she… harmed?”

“No.” The nurse glanced over at Ann, almost as if to confirm the fact for herself. “She’s sleeping. She’s fine.”

“Right, right. I can see that. What I want to know is… was she….” He’d twisted the hat into the shape of a wet towel. The nurse still didn’t understand what he was talking about. He decided to bail out of the conversation. “Thank you, ma’am, thank you.” He began backing away from her.

The nurse nodded, still confused. “You’re welcome.”

Driscoll turned his back on her and approached Ann’s bed. He heard the door close lightly behind him. He couldn’t hear the old man groaning anymore.

Even bruised and scratched, Ann still looked beautiful: her angelic face, her full red lips, her blonde hair draped across the pillow like strands of gold. He sat down in the hard-back chair beside the bed, and watched as her peaceful face contorted nightmarishly. “No, no,” she whispered, “don’t do that... don’t… touch me….” Her face relaxed as her fearful whimperings seemed to transform into moans of pleasure.

Driscoll’s fist tightened. He felt like slamming his fist into somebody’s face. He grabbed Ann by the shoulders and shook her awake. “Ann! Ann!”

Ann’s eyes snapped open, looked into Driscoll’s face. She tried to push away from him.

He wouldn’t let go of her. “What happened?” he said. “What did you let him do to you?”

Ann looked shamefully at the ground. “I….”

Before she could finish, screams erupted from the street below. Something dark and massive leaped past the window.


I was the first person they contacted to study the epicenter of the destruction. The bodies weren’t even cold. They sent a military envoy to my home on Long Island for the express purpose of transporting me to Fifth and Broadway in Manhattan as quickly as possible. The entire ride there, I couldn’t help but think of how many lives would have been saved if only they had listened to me five weeks before.

I’m the acknowledged expert in my field, and yet my opinion was not at all appreciated when I wrote that guest editorial in the New York Times in which I warned the people of America of what might happen if they didn’t come to their senses and stop this insane exploitation. Did anybody take me seriously? Of course not. Instead they just twisted my argument into a Marxist screed against America and the free market.

I’d heard the destruction described on the radio, of course, but nothing could prepare me for what I saw spread out before us. Only Gustave Doré could have captured the apocalyptic horror of that frozen tableau: skyscrapers reduced to piles of blood-spattered rubble, mutilated survivors crawling through the ruins of their homes, children crying for mothers who lay dead or dying only inches away, biplanes lying in fragments in the middle of Broadway, the train cars of the Sixth Street Elevated exploded into metallic tatters, a chaotic mixture of flesh and steel. Innocent bystanders, blinded by the ubiquitous flames, running through the streets wailing in panic. I saw an old woman, whose flesh had burned away, screaming and crying and praying all at once, huddled in a ball amidst a pile of burning body parts.

I saw its prostrate mass from blocks away. As the envoy neared Fifth Street, the body became more and more visible. The military boys had tried to prepare me for the sight, but of course no amount of preparation could suffice. Denham’s slogan was no hyperbole. It truly was the eighth wonder of the world.

“No reason to be scared,” said the soldier beside me. “The President’s coming soon.”

I tried not to laugh. I wanted to say, “The President can’t even save Wall Street. What’s he going to do about this?” Instead I chose to say nothing. I think he was trying to reassure himself more than me.

We screeched to a halt just outside the yellow lines the military had roped around the corpse. I saw its cranium first. Though its stomach was pressed to the ground, its head was tilted slightly to the left, giving me an opportunity to study the expression on its face. It looked very much like it was sleeping. The same peaceful expression I’d seen on a thousand apes a thousand times before. For a second, I grew worried that it really was sleeping. But no, no. The blood-drenched ground was adequate testament to its fate. Of course, it was difficult to distinguish the ape’s blood from the humans it had killed upon impact. My God, what a way to go.

And the smell. It permeated Broadway. It was not the stench of a rotting body; the beast hadn’t been dead long enough. It was more like the stench of every ape I’d encountered in my entire career confined to a five-block radius. Imagine the smell of feces and urine mixed with burning hair and you might have a close approximation of what Broadway was like that afternoon.

I spotted the General standing near the right ear lobe. (The ear alone was as large as the General’s head. It was hard to tell from my perspective, but the beast could have been anywhere from twenty to twenty-five feet high.) I was about to call out his name when a man broke through the crowd, pushed aside one of the soldiers, and grabbed the General’s thick wrist.

“What’re you doing?” the man yelled. “You can’t do this, this is my property, I—!”

I recognized his voice first. How many times had I heard it on the radio these past few weeks? (Too many.) Yes, it was none other than Carl Denham. Impresario. Hollywood film director. Explorer. Mad man.

“I wish the planes had taken you out too,” the General said and slugged Denham in the jaw, dropping him to the ground. Despite his advanced years, the General still packed a hell of a wallop.

Two soldiers emerged from the crowd and pulled Denham up by his shoulders. He looked pretty bad. How quickly the wheel turns. Twenty-four hours before, he had been the talk of the town; now he was reduced to a gibbering idiot. “It wasn’t the airplanes,” Denham raved, “it was beauty killed the beast!”

“What the hell’re you talkin’ about?” one of the soldiers said. As they began to drag him away, I jumped out of the jeep and ran toward them. “Wait, don’t!” I shouted.

“Not another nut,” the General said. “Who’re you?”

“Dr. Douglas Burden.”

“Oh, the ape guy. Jesus, I’m relieved.”

How I loved being called that. As if my entire career in Biology had been spent studying primates.

“We need you,” the General said. “We need somebody. I don’t know what the hell’s going on. One minute everything’s fine, the next we’re in the middle of the god damn apocalypse.” The General stared at all the destruction surrounding him. He seemed genuinely disturbed, as if he might break down whimpering at any moment.

I said, “Let’s try to remain calm, okay? I’d like Denham to stay. He knows more about this… this thing… than anybody else. He might have information we need, information he doesn’t even know he has.”

“This, clearly, is a man of great wit and perception,” Denham said to the two soldiers. “And you definitely need one around here.”

The General blustered. He seemed to be on the verge of punching Denham again until I stepped between them and placed my hand on the General’s epaulettes.

“General, please, you called me down here for my advice. If you don’t want to listen to what I have to say, I’ll go home.”

“I wanted your advice about apes, not—!”

“Apes, people—there’s really very little difference, sir.”

Eventually, the General calmed down and ordered the soldiers to release Denham.

“About time,” Denham said, smoothing out his rumpled coat. “If I don’t start getting some respect around here, I might be forced to sue someone.”

The General barked out a frustrated laugh. “By the time the city of New York gets through with you, you’ll be lucky to have a single cent in your pocket.”

Denham waved his hands in the air. “No, no, I can’t be sued for an act of God.”

The General pointed at the giant ape. “You call that an act of God?”

“The laws are very clear. I checked out all the legal ramifications before I initiated this project. In fact—”

The General was barely able to keep himself under control. “How can you stand there and call the death of thousands of people a ‘project’? How can you—?”

“Let’s leave all this legalistic crap for another time,” I said. “Right now we’ve got a somewhat more acute problem on our hands.” A gust of wind blew the stench of blood and vomit into my face. I felt as if I were going to gag. I began to cough instead. “How long has this body been lying here?”

“About thirteen hours,” the General said.

“Have either of you ever been around a dead ape for any length of time?”

“Well, I shot a rhinoceros in Africa,” Denham said. “Got it right between the eyes. Everybody told me not to risk it, but it didn’t scare me. Nothin’ scares me. I don’t quit. Ever.”

I sighed. “How about a dead dog then?”

“I had to bury my little girl’s dog in the back yard once,” the General said. “But that was years ago.”

“I wish you’d paid attention to what happened to it,” I said. “When the body begins to cool, you see, it’ll eventually be abandoned by—”

One of the soldiers who had been restraining Denham pointed above our heads and shouted, “Holy Toledo! What the fuck is that?”

I spun around and saw the fur on top of the ape’s head beginning to ripple strangely, as if something were crawling just beneath the surface.

The tick leaped off the ape’s head. The General screamed like a woman as the thing landed on his chest and sank its proboscis into his throat. The insect was the size of a fist. The General ripped the creature away,—pieces of flesh tearing away with it—and tossed it on the ground. The soldiers open fired on the insect. Its body burst open like an overripe watermelon. Bright, fresh blood sprayed the crowd.

“Jesus Christ,” Denham whispered. His mouth was dripping with tick blood.

I thought, It’s too late. I looked up at the ape’s sleek, black fur.

The entire body was beginning to ripple.

(You can read the rest of "Ticks" by clicking HERE.)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Richard Shaver and Ray Palmer on The Long John Nebel Show

Long before George Noory or Art Bell discussed paranormal topics on the radio well into the wee hours, broadcaster Long John Nebel disseminated similar information in the same time slot on WOR in New York back in the 1950s.  If you had been listening to Nebel's radio show late one night in 1956 you would have been able to hear the very first radio interview with Richard Shaver, author of I REMEMBER LEMURIA. Joining Shaver is Ray Palmer, coauthor of THE COMING OF THE SAUCERS....

(Note:  Apparently, the source of this recording is a vinyl record that was once sold by Gray Barker, publisher of Saucerian Books and author of THEY KNEW TOO MUCH ABOUT FLYING SAUCERS.)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Phantom Clowns Redux

From KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh comes this 3-4-17 report entitled "Armed Men Dressed As Clowns Scare Children Playing In Wooded Area" by Julie Grant:

"Extra police are patrolling West Mifflin tonight after two men with weapons, dressed as clowns, frightened a group of children. 

"Police from West Mifflin and the City of Pittsburgh went searching for the men, as soon as the father of three of the children called 911. The search didn’t turn up any evidence.
"It was a typical Saturday afternoon for the kids on Lauder Street, playing hide and go seek in the woods, until around 4:15 p.m.

"That’s when the kids say two men dressed like scary clowns and carrying weapons seemed to come out of nowhere.

"'They were chasing us,' said 8-year-old Dylan Milkowski, of West Mifflin.

"'My kid came running in the house screaming that there were two guys chasing him,' said Michael Milkowski, of West Mifflin.

"At first, Milkowski didn’t believe what his kids were screaming about.

"'I said to my kids "are you lying or something" and they were like "no we’re being really serious." I looked over and they showed me where they were and there’s two guys running up a hillside,' said Milkowski.

"Milkowski said he started yelling at the men.

"'I just said "hey what are you doing over here" and they just kept running...,' said Milkowski."

To read Grant's article, and see her entire KDKA television report, simply click HERE.

(Thanks to Adam Sayne of Conspirinormal for the tip!)

Friday, March 3, 2017

David Paulides & CHAMELEO

A correspondent recently sent me a link to an August 2016 radio interview with David Paulides, author of the excellent MISSING 411 series of books (about the unexplained disappearances of scores of people in the wilds of North America and beyond).  The show on which Paulides appeared is called WHERE DID THE ROAD GO? hosted by Seriah Azkath.  During this two-part interview Paulides mentioned my book CHAMELEO prominently:  

"[CHAMELEO] is a story about a kid north of San Diego that is harassed incessantly by a group of people who have stealth technology and actually can become invisible.  [The author] implicates the Department of the Navy.  This real credible guy wrote a great book about the incident and the technology, and how it appeared they were just testing it on this kid who was using drugs because they probably thought nobody would give a damn and never give the kid an ounce of credibility as to what he claimed.  It's a really intriguing story.  [George] Knapp had the guy on his show and called me later and said, 'Hey, you've go to read this book.'  So I said, 'All right,' and it was a good one.  It's a good one."

You can listen to the interview by clicking HERE (CHAMELEO is mentioned at around 41:00).  I recommend listening to the program in its entirety.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Cabinet of Wonders: Harlan Ellison's CAN & CAN’TANKEROUS

Harlan Ellison’s latest short story collection, Can & Can’tankerous, is nothing less than a cabinet of wonders built by a demented magician—a box filled to bursting with carnivalesque impossibilities such as doomed and/or omnipotent homunculi, conquering alien imps who unknowingly help the human race while trying to destroy it, time travelling super models, beneficent rubber ducks, Martian sex slaves, phantom cartographers, the 1948 Cleveland Indians, at least twenty-six different brands of mythological beings, and (thrown in for good measure) the ghost of Satchel Paige.  This collection of ten short stories published between 1956 and 2012 spans an impressive array of genres, time periods, worlds, and emotions.

As with his previous books, such as the classic collections Deathbird Stories (1975) and Angry Candy (1988), Ellison is able to gracefully segue from one genre to another within only a few pages—sometimes within the same story.  For example, the third offering in the book, “Objects of Desire in the Mirror Are Closer than They Appear,” combines classic science fiction tropes with a heavily noirish atmosphere, creating a hybrid that somehow looks and feels nothing like the parent-genres that breathed it into existence in the first place. 

The centerpiece of the book, a 15,000-word novella entitled “The Toad Prince, or, Sex Queen of the Martian Pleasure-Domes,” is a near-impossibility:  an impressive feat of close-up magic that excels at pulse-pounding science fiction adventure redolent of 1950s pulp stereotypes while succeeding in being a satirical deconstruction of those same well-worn clichés.  As I avidly read the planet-hopping adventures of Sarna (Our Hero), a Terran prostitute trapped in a world of sex-crazed Martians, for some reason my brain insisted on imagining this epic as a graphic novel drawn by the late sui generis artist Moebius, who often combined cosmic vistas, blatantly sexual themes, and Golden Age science fiction tropes in his own unforgettable stories.  (Hollywood producers, please take note:  If not a comic book, this novella would also make a wonderful animated movie in the style of such borderline-psychedelic SF films as Fantastic Planet and Heavy Metal.)

For the purists among you who have an inherent distaste for Golden Age retro themes in your genre of choice, rest assured that this collection of stories includes at least four Master Class tales that are as accomplished as the best short fiction produced in America during the past two decades:  “How Interesting:  A Tiny Man” (which won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 2011), a wildly inventive—and oddly affecting—twist on the age-old concept of the golem; “Incognita, Inc.,” a melancholy tale about an old man responsible for creating the maps that have led countless generations of adventurers to the lands of myth and legend, a deft parable that can ultimately be seen as a wistful meditation on the death (and, one hopes, rebirth) of the imagination in our overly commodified society; “He Who Grew Up Reading Sherlock Holmes,” a devilishly clever jigsaw puzzle of a tale that compels you to begin rereading it the second you’ve finished the final sentence; and “Goodbye to All That,” an absurdist fantasy that has the fearless audacity to create a scenario that can only be resolved by revealing the Ultimate Punchline to the Ultimate Joke… and, in the end, despite this ostensibly impossible-to-overcome buildup, somehow manages to be funny

“Goodbye to All That” is also noteworthy in that it expands on Ellison’s ongoing obsession with Lost World scenarios, a type of story rarely attempted these days; in fact, one could say it’s an extinct subgenre.  Ellison’s contributions are unique in that these types of exotic adventures, whether novelistic or cinematic, tend to be epic in nature, e.g., H. Rider Haggard’s She (1887) or Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s King Kong (1933).  Ellison’s Lost World stories, however, compress such sweeping narratives into only a few pages.  Some of the most memorable tales in Ellison’s 1997 collection, Slippage, played with Lost World scenarios in a variety of fascinating ways (e.g., “Darkness Upon the Face of the Deep,” “Chatting with Anubis,” and “Midnight in the Sunken Cathedral”). 

Several of the stories in Can & Can’tankerous flirt with this venerable Lost World concept, e.g., “From A to Z, in the Sarsaparilla Alphabet,” “Incognita, Inc.,” and “Goodbye to All That.”  I suspect “Goodbye to All That” was inspired by a juxtaposition of two wildly different narratives:  James Hilton’s bestselling 1933 novel Lost Horizon, perhaps the most famous Lost World story of the twentieth century (the protagonist of “Goodbye to All That” is named Colman, no doubt in honor of Ronald Colman, the star of Frank Capra’s 1937 film adaptation of Lost Horizon) and Robert Sheckley’s antic 1976 Playboy story “What Is Life?” in which an explorer treks to a mountaintop in the Himalayas only to be confronted by an invisible deity who demands that the intruder provide him with the ultimate answer to the ultimate question.  In “Goodbye to All That” Ellison manages to trump Sheckley’s insanely clever solution to an impossible scenario (I won’t spoil the punchline to Sheckley’s story in case you’ve never read it, but it can be found in his 1978 short story collection entitled The Robot Who Looked Like Me).

Overall, Can & Can’tankerous is a worthy follow-up to Ellison’s Slippage, his last book of “previously uncollected, precariously poised stories.”  The wonders in this particular magic cabinet are just as precariously poised (perhaps even more so), in the sense that they seem simultaneously familiar and unpredictable, graceful and unbalanced, logical and irrational—a genuine paradox, perhaps the greatest magic trick of all.

To order Can & Can’tankerous, visit the publisher’s website by clicking HERE.

Note:  This review appeared originally, in somewhat different form, in THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION #335 (July 2016).