Friday, September 30, 2011


Where the hell did the last month go?

Shadows growing long

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I am a Faker, Pretending Along

Today, The Ride will stand as a salve for the diatribe I took against CNN yesterday. It seems that at least some of the material posted on their website is worth-while.

From Do You Speak Christian?

With a look at a fascinating short film from Kirby Ferguson, creator of the Vimeo series Everything is a Remix, and the book Speaking Christian by Episcopal Theologian Marcus Borg, CNN takes a moment to investigate the fascinating language of the Christian faith.

Now, I'm not going to chop up the article and put it back together for you here all piecemeal. I'll let you read CNN's article yourself, but the basic idea of the story goes like this. With a history over two thousand years long, the language of the Bible, and of the pulpit, has undergone a lot of changes. Words that were used thousands of years ago to evoke a certain definition have evolved through culture to have entirely different meanings.

Think of it this way. Everyone had to read a little Shakespeare in high school. If Shakespeare, less than a thousand years old at this point, is so difficult to access and comprehend in this day in age, what makes you think the Bible would be any easier? At least Shakespeare wrote in English, there's no knowing how many translations the Bible has gone through before reaching your pew, or how talented those translators were.

So the next time you hear some pious, self-obsessed zealot talk about how they were "Born-again", take comfort as I do that they likely have no idea what the hell they are talking about. Simply regurgitating words that one has heard without any knowledge of their meaning does not imply comprehension. Just ask any tropical parrot about that one.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

So, it's come to this...

Morning, freaks!

Here's a fascinating piece of news-worthy material!

From How to survive a zombie apocalypse

Yep. That's right. I said "From". Zombies. Whoo-boy.

Let's take a look, shall we?

Naturally, upon first seeing this headline I simply had to investigate further. What possible worldly reason could CNN have for putting together a piece on surviving a zombie apocalypse? Certainly the varied reports of zombified ants, as well as other various critters (Google it, I'm not making this up), are cause for some alarm. But a sensationalized headline on one of America's most trusted news-sources about how to survive an actual zombie apocalypse? Have things really gotten that bad?

The answer, of course, is a resounding "Yes. They have."

But not for the reasons you're expecting. Calm your quaking knees, and pull yourself back from the window ledge. Hordes of the Undead are in fact not rushing down your door as you read this. Nay, a far more insidious force is at work here. And that is "respected" news outlets being hi-jacked by American commercialism.

Now you're probably asking, "But what do Zombies have to do with commercialism?" And the answer is - absolutely nothing. Yet at the same time, everything. Here's the story.

The CNN story begins by reporting on a memo released from the Center for Disease Control in May of this year, a tongue-in-cheek survival supplies guide list for outlasting the undead. The CDC released a very practical, no-nonsense guide, complete with a history of zombies going beyond their inflated image due to cinema all the way back to their roots in Haitian voodoo lore. As far as the recommended supplies go, the CDC make very sensible suggestions, from a healthy stock of water to necessary medications to the holiest of holies in all survival kits - duct tape. The CDC even goes as far as to note that many of the items listed are also quite useful in the event of a natural disaster, as many people learned from the hurricane season that pummeled the north east this summer.

The site continues by encouraging you and your family to come up with an emergency plan, to ensure you will be prepared for any possibility in this Sci-Fi End of Days scenario. But, as I said in the opening here, it was CNN that led me to this CDC post. And the CNN story was, as they say, "A horse of a different color."

The CNN version goes a little something like this. They open just below the headline with a dramatic still from the popular TV series "The Walking Dead", along with a link to the original CDC page. They then rattle off a few of the more practical items from the CDC list, artfully forgetting to mention the fact that the CDC directly states on its website that their cautions are easily applicable to more real world disaster scenarios. CNN then makes a gaudy runway display of a series of items from various "Zombie-themed" wishlists. Sacrificing the grounded application of the CDC's report for the frenzied hunt for flash and ratings, CNN parades a series of images of various "Zombie-security tools", most of which appear to have been taken from the wet dreams of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

While some of the items undoubtedly would come in handy in a pinch, like the Anti-Riot Helmet from Rothco (priced at a modest $61.99), others border on the absurd. Such as the Skull Faced Mask from ZANheadgear. Even the article admits that the piece serves no practical value beyond "looking cool", but throws in the extra selling point that these frightening grim reaper masks are used by U.S. soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan, touting "if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you and the zombies."

My favorite part of the piece is the fact that the author simply couldn't resist throwing in the reminder that the premiere of the second season of "The Walking Dead" was coming up next week, and that Halloween is right around the corner as well. A nice reminder that you have no reason to leave your homes, unless of course it is to go out and spend money on a bunch of shit you don't need.

So congratulations CNN, for turning what started as a good-hearted jab from the CDC into a fully fleshed commercial for companies making instruments that have no application off the battlefield other than the possibility of a zombie infestation. I mean sweet Christ, one of these items is a full body riot-suit, and is made by a company called Damascus Protective Gear. And at the "Get-it-now" price of $545.95, can you really afford to say no?

Just in case you're curious to educate yourself in a meaningful fashion on the reality of Zombies, steer yourself away from CNN and go check out this web series from, an episode of Hamilton's Pharmacopeia where Hamilton takes an in-depth look into the frighteningly real world of Zombies, unadulterated from the influences of western fiction. I've posted the official trailer here, which will take you to the full documentary should you wish to investigate further.

Enjoy The Ride. Love ya.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We're Goin' Bare-Hands!

Is this life imitating art? Or life imitating art imitating life?

Or could it just be life imitating shitty cinema?

From The Inquisitr: Unemployed Man Will Let You Hunt Him For $10,000

Mork Encino, a 28 year old unemployed man suffering the ongoing misfortune of having parents who were obviously way too into Mork & Mindy in the 80s, is fed up. After suffering through a lengthy period of being without a job, Encino has turned to what he sees as being the only route left to provide for his family. He's offering himself up as prey for sportsmen looking to lock in mortal combat with the world's most dangerous game.

Mork's website,, is offering the chance to hunt Mork for the price of $10,000. Standing proud in orange suspenders with a face only a mother could love, Encino is ready to do anything to provide for his loved ones in these tough economic times.
I am a new breed of prey with thick pelt and smooth hide...I’m faster than a wild turkey, smart as any GODDAMN wild boar, and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the monetary health of my family.
Gotta hand it to the man. He sure sounds devoted.

While Encino has already received several offers on his website, as of yet none of them have been large enough to entice him into accepting the hunt. Truthfully, Encino is simply hoping that his website will go viral enough that it will help him land a legitimate job prospect, rather than be forced to go to ground in the bush against a coterie of maddened rifle-men.

For your sake, Mork, I hope that job offer comes down the line before Rutger Hauer and his buddies find your site.

I wouldn't want to be the one to have to explain to Gary Busey that he shouldn't be taking it too seriously.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Forked Tongue of the Times

Howdy, kids!

Here's an interesting story.

From The New York Times: Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim

Yep, that's right. After over a week of a complete media blackout, the #OccupyWallStreet protest is finally getting some coverage. Unfortunately, that coverage is grossly biased against the protesters fighting the good fight. And who is surprised?

For a version of the events based more firmly in reality, go here:

From The Nation: Correcting the Abysmal 'New York Times' Coverage of Occupy Wall Street

Thank you, Alison Kilkenny.

Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my bank account! This has to be real!!

It's Just A Ride.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

You're not like the others!

You like the same things I do!!

I've had this ICE CREAM BAR since I was a CHILD!!

Hope you weirdos are enjoying your Sunday!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Toast! To Larry Flynt!!!

Hope this weekend finds you all in the very best of spirits, comrades.

And just in case you're feeling a little down in the dumps today, I am officially making it the mission of The Ride to crack a smile on your dour faces. I realize I have been getting a little heavy with the content I've chosen to discuss of late. So today, I am making the conscious decision to step away a bit. You know, I could have brought up the newly unveiled cell-phone tracking system being used by the FBI capable of tracking a cell phone even when it is not being used. Or I could have chosen the frightening blurb out of USA TODAY talking about how one in five Americans think that God directly helps run the economy, and that it works because "God wants it to". No, I have something far more interesting than all of that to share.

Drumroll Please

From Porn magnate funds $1 million quest to embarrass Perry

That's right. The Sultan of Smut is kicking it old school for the denizens of the New World Order. Larry Flint, famed prince of pornography, is offering One Million Dollars in exchange for any verifiable material evidence concerning an extra-marital affair involving Republican Presidential hopeful, Rick Perry.

And the Race is on, and here comes Pride in the back stretch!

To advertise his campaign to discredit Perry, Larry Flynt paid for advertisement in satirical rag The Onion and the Austin Chronicle, declaring:
Have you had a gay or straight sexual encounter with Governor Rick Perry?

Can you provide documented evidence of illicit sexual or intimate relations with the governor? Larry Flynt and Hustler magazine will pay you up to $1 million if we choose to publish your verified story and use your material.

As you likely know, this isn't the first time Flynt has recruited his army of delinquent (and I use the term in the most complimentary way possible) readers to dig up dirt on public figures who happen to fall under his cross-hairs. Back when President Clinton was being impeached for lying about his sexual encounters with Monica Lewinski, Flynt made the same offer of $1 million to anyone who could bring proof of a scandal involving any of the congressional Republicans involved. And Larry's record goes back almost as long as his publication career. As Flynt himself said, "I've been doing this for 35 years...We've found running these ads were very successful in finding sources to come forward."

Of course, Rick Perry's office could not be reached for comment in regards to Flynt's offer. Let us hope that his apparent stoic refusal to dignify the search with a response means that there really is something to find. I don't know about the rest of you, but nothing lifts my spirit like watching politicians be buried by their own hypocrisy.

So, a toast! To politicians being exposed as the liars and cheats that they are! To transparency! And above all, to Larry Flynt - a true American Hero. God Bless You, Sir!

Tell Everyone! Shout it from the Mountain!! The Pervert is Back! THE PERVERT IS BACK!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Can I blow a little smoke on you??

It's Friday, freaks. But I'm sure you already knew that.

Time for a break.

Enjoy the weekend, my lovelies.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Death of Innocence

Good evening, fellow travelers.

Sorry it took me so long to get this posted. Been trying to turn this one over in my head for a bit.

So, unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely heard about the story of Troy Davis. Davis was convicted in 1991 for the slaying of a Georgia police officer, and was put to death yesterday by lethal injection. Despite a change in testimony of many of the original key witnesses against Davis, an international attempt at gaining attention on the case in hopes of gaining a stay of execution has failed. Last night, around 11:08 PM, Davis was pronounced dead.

Regardless of whether or not you are a supporter of the death penalty, this particular case is important because there was a large amount of doubt surrounding Davis' guilt. Davis himself, throughout his 20 years of imprisonment, repeatedly asserted that he was innocent of these crimes, right up to the moment he was pierced by the needle. In his last words, Davis said "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls." There was no rage in his words, only resignation. And a sincere desire that those guilty for the crime he was being held accountable for be found in the name of justice.

OK, so admittedly, I don't know all the facts of this case. I know that from what I have read, it would certainly appear that Davis had at least a shadow of a reasonable doubt surrounding the possibility of his guilt, but I wasn't in the court room. I haven't seen the case files. I only know what is being fed to me through the media. But one thing this case has taught me is the gross lengths a company will go to to turn a profit in our capitalist society.

Have you ever heard of a company called Correct Health? Yeah, me neither, until last night. Apparently, Rainbow Medical Associates, a subsidiary of Correct Health, was contracted for the lethal drugs used in Davis' execution. A contract ringing in to the tune of $18,000. Yes, that's right. Your tax dollars hard at work. Even more outrageous, if you dig a little deeper you'll find that until somewhat recently, the cost for outsourced murder contracts ran just a hair under a thousand dollars a pop. The inflated cost is due to legal fees involved in procuring liability insurance for the doctors administering the lethal injections, afraid that their medical license may be revoked for such a flagrant abandonment of the Hippocratic Oath.

So, what have you learned in school today, dear psychonaut friends of mine? I'm not here to tell you the lesson. It's not my job to tell you what to think. I'll tell you what I think though. I think it's long past time this country takes a long hard look at itself in the mirror. I think it's past time we stopped getting out panties in a twist every time Facebook makes a few changes to its interface and start paying attention to the important stuff. We're talking about a man who was in prison over a decade and a half before Facebook was released, yet a quick look at your News Feed from the last 24 hours will show you where the heart of this nation really lies.

Rest in Peace, Troy Davis. May you serve as an example of the dark side of our court system. Hopefully, somewhere down the line, something good will come out of this travesty of justice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

War on Birth Control!

From the people who brought you The War on Drugs, and the wildly popular sequel, The War on Terror, comes the next installment in the blockbuster series! Coming to a county near you, this fall, The War on Birth Control!

From Texas GOP Rep On Cuts To Family Planning: ‘Of Course This Is A War On Birth Control’

Ahh, Texas. Thank God I stopped taking life so seriously, otherwise these 10-gallon hat wearing bible-addicts would really be causing me to lose sleep at night.

Yes, in a world where over-population is becoming a bigger and bigger problem by the day, Texas Representative Wayne Christian is spearheading the fight against birth control. Riding on the coattails of governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry's "emergency law" demanding that doctors perform a sonogram on women at least 24 hours before an abortion can be performed, Christian is taking the fight even further. Restricting medical facilities over abortion procedures, cutting funding for Planned Parenthood by over two-thirds, and threatening poor women's health care programs in the state.

Of course, the refreshing piece here is the fact that Christian isn't mincing his words here. Abandoning the party line that these cuts would in some way save Texas money (never mind the fact that Texas already spends more money on teenage pregnancy than any other state of the union), Christian has stepped into the firing line and openly declared war on birth control. After all, according to him, "that's what family planning is."

Yep. Read that again.

“Well of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that’s what family planning is supposed to be about,” Christian said.

Well, here's a thought Wayne. You want all these extra kids running around? Then you fucking pay for them. You take them to school every morning. You help them with their homework. And damnit, you'd better be cutting the crust off of those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you put in those brown paper bags every day.

"Conservatives want live babies so they can raise 'em to be dead soldiers!

Play it again, George.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

" 'Cause I'm Proud to be an American..."

...Where at least I know I'm free...

Check out this footage from the protests organized by Anonymous outside of Wall Street.

Business as usual.

The question is, how long will this video be allowed to stay posted on YouTube? As I explained in a post a little while back, the government considers anything that is a threat to the economy to be terrorism, and my sharing of this video could be seen as providing material support to these "terrorists".

Let's see who steps down first.

The Ride looks like it's going to get a little bumpy ahead, kids.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name.

Hope the beginning of the week finds you in good spirits, dear friends.

In case you missed the Emmys last night, as I did, then here's what has to be the most interesting highlight of the evening.

From The Stir: Rupert Murdoch Runs the Emmys Just Like He Runs Fox News: Censorship!

As the story goes, Alec Baldwin had filmed a piece for the opening segment of last night's ceremonies in which he light heartedly poked fun at the recent scandal involving Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. illegally hacking into private phones. Since the Emmys were being aired on FOX, just another arm of the many tentacled beast Murdoch has raised through various dark rites and animal sacrifices, it was simple enough for Rupert to pull the plug on the whole bit. It just simply wouldn't do to have FOX broadcasting a piece that didn't absolutely look favorably upon their owner.

In response to the censorship, Alec Baldwin completely pulled his part from the program, despite his nomination for an award. He claimed to have a prior engagement celebrating the birthday of Tony Bennett, but it would appear that the censorship of the program had a lot to do with Baldwin's decision to pull out.

Either way, this would be a public relations shit storm for Murdoch and company if it weren't for one unfortunate fact. The man owns so much of the media, I'm surprised we even heard there was a censorship scandal in the first place. If it weren't for Alec Baldwin's high profile being involved, I doubt we would have heard a peep about all of this.

But take heart, dear psychonauts. This is just another small step towards what I see to be the inevitable unveiling of Murdoch as the tyrannical overlord of the devious race of reptilians hell-bent on the domination of man. As the scandals surrounding the man reach a fever-pitch in the coming months, he will have no choice but to unveil himself and bring the fight into the open, out of the clandestine back alleys of industrial politics and into the streets!

Keep up the good work, Alec Baldwin! That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind! Bring down the beast!!

And to Murdoch, in the highly unlikely event that you're reading this, a piece of advice:

No sympathy for the devil. Keep that in mind. But the ticket, take the ride. - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Friday, September 16, 2011

How d'ya do??

To the fearless Massapequa, NY man that expressed such wanton perversion in an area church yesterday: I Salute You!

From News12 Long Island: Police search for man who exposed himself inside Massapequa church

First, the facts. Around 1:00 PM yesterday afternoon, an African-American gentleman approached an elderly woman in the chapel of the Our Lady of Lords in Massapequa. Apparently the man sat down and proceeded to expose himself to the elderly woman, who screamed in terror at the offending sexual appendage. Summoned by the screams of horror, a worker at the church gave pursuit to the pervert, but thankfully he was able to escape.

Some of you are probably doing a double-take over my choice of the word "thankfully" in that last sentence. Surely I can't mean to express gratitude that such a morally bankrupt individual appears to be escaping justice, can I? The answer is, in fact, yes. Thank the lord this man escaped to the open skies of freedom. And here's why.

If you only clicked the link above to read the brief story, go the extra mile and watch the attached video. In the video comes what has to be the best 60 second parade of sheeple bemoaning the moral collapse of America that I have ever seen. With a space between their eyes fit to drive a Mack truck through, and shock painted on their faces more clearly than a boardwalk caricature, this video is a pure gold mine. Quotes like "I think the evil one is well and live, roaming the Earth", and "Thank God there weren't any kids in there!", these mini-interviews do a great job of showing how completely paralyzed and indignant these God-fearing citizens can become when a flaccid penis is introduced to their hallowed halls.

Ironic, considering that churches have been the number one site for sexual abuse for the last 30-odd years. And no, I have no data to back up that statement, I'm blatantly making this up. But it still feels right.

It is my honest belief that the church by and large needs to evolve out of its era of sexual oppression. These Dark Ages of Genitalia have gone on too long. Of course, it's no foreskin off my hide how they choose to conduct themselves, but maybe if they were a little more open about sex, there wouldn't be so much cause for scandal within their walls. After all, as any child knows, there is no better way to raise the drive for a man to do something than to tell him it is forbidden.

Note: Really only wanted to use this clip for the minute from 1:30 - 2:30. But feel free to enjoy the whole clip.

Enjoy the weekend, my psychonaut companions. Thrust your hand into the forbidden cookie jar of life and grab yourself some flavor.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We'd like to welcome you to Munchkin Land!!

Get Ready, freaks. You're gonna love this one.

From The Most Epic Tabloid Headline Of All Time

For those of you too lazy to click that link to investigate, the headline in question reads as follows:


OK, OK, quit your gut-laughing for a few seconds here, and let's get the facts. First off, the "sex dwarf" in question is not in fact a pint-sized companion of Gordon Ramsay's, as I originally thought upon reading the headline. Sadly, life isn't that good. What we do have, however, is almost as jaw-dropping and bizarre.

Percy Foster, a 3-foot 6 inches UK porn star, was known for his eerie resemblance to Ramsay and as the star of such adult fare as "Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Up Your Arse We Go." Foster was found dead at the bottom of a 6-foot deep badger set by members of the Ministry of Agriculture in western Wales.

While suicide has not officially been ruled out as a cause of death, Foster was apparently claiming top dollar in the porn industry for his resemblance to Ramsay. Porn star celebrity look-alikes are always in high demand in the pornography industry. Add the diminutive stature of Mr. Foster, and you have smut gold.

Call me a prude, but I have never felt much draw to the niche of dwarf pornography. I much prefer legitimate dwarf cinema, personally. Like The Terror of Tiny Town (1938), an old time western cast entirely by the vertically challenged.

You can't tell me that doesn't make you smile. At least a little bit. Even if it's just on the inside.

If the strangeness of this world doesn't have you bust out laughing on a regular basis, than you're just not paying attention. Enjoy The Ride.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Take a Lesson from The Bard

It is always the Jester with the most truth in his words.

Dress the Kings and Lords in motley, for they truly are the fools of the land.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

15 Days Without Incident!!

What sort of incident, you ask?

It's been a full 15 days, just a hair over two weeks, since a prominent anti-gay rights politician has been involved in a homosexual scandal! Way to go, conservatives!

How do I know that it has been a whole 15 days? Well, the good people over at led me this morning to what has to be one of the most valuable resources on the internet.

Yes, thanks to, you too can now track the hypocrisy of the religious right. There surely is a special place in hell reserved for each and every one of these men, who make a living off the persecution and damnation of their own kind!

Of course, all seriousness aside, I can not for one second tell you that this is not one of the funniest lists I have ever seen. There is something undeniably hysterical about the irony of it all.

Enjoy the Ride, kids!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back The Fuck Up, HAL!

Happy Monday, freaks!

So, if you're reading this, than it is safe to assume you have survived all the doom and gloom prophecies for the tenth anniversary of 9/11. And for that, I salute you!

In the vein of prophecy, check out this story today from the great news cannon across the pond.

From BBC: Supercomputer predicts revolution

As the story goes, a Kalev Leetaru of the University of Illinois Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Science has unveiled a new software program which he claims was able to predict the hot spots of the Arab Spring, as well as provide a surprisingly narrow search radius for Osama bin Laden before his death. Of course, all of these predictions were handled in hindsight, so one has to wonder how much the facts are being distorted to support the end result here.

Leetaru's program works by assimilating millions of media articles, and then dissecting them into two separate variables: mood, and location. Location is simple enough, as the computer simply takes any locations named in the article and translates them into coordinates to be plotted on a graph. The enumeration of mood is slightly more tricky. Defining mood levels, or "automated sentiment mining", was performed by analyzing the articles for key words, such as "terror", "horrific", or "nice", and then in a flash of computer wizardry, likely involving gremlins with flame-throwers, stamps a mood definition to pair with the location of the article.

Using these information sets, Leetaru was able to produce a graph over time displaying what he claims to be an accurate predictor of the mood of a given location. Indeed, the graph created for Egypt not only shows the fall of Mubarek, but also several other high tension periods in Egypt's recent history. It was able to do the same with Libya, and was also able to predict bin Laden's location within 200km of his lair in Pakistan.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and it remains to be seen whether Leetaru's expensive computer magic will be worth its salt when it comes time to predict a revolution that hasn't happened yet. But for those of us who have so little faith in the validity of anything that comes through the pipe-lines of the international media, than it would appear that Mr. Leetaru and his device are already beginning from a losing position.

No more than the rest of us, though.

Besides, I can't be the only person who feels that we might be allowing the computers to do a little bit too much of our thinking these days. Do we really need to take that extra step to have a machine predict when people have been pushed to the point of violent rebellion in the streets? Seems to me a decidedly inhumane response to such a humanitarian problem.

Besides, God Help Us if the machines were to go down.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Do YOU Remember??

If your internet experience has been anything like mine this morning, than you too have been bombarded with queries demanding if you remember. Do you remember where you were when the first plane hit? Do you remember where you were when Bush declared war on terrorism? Do you remember where you were when Saddam Hussein was hanged in the streets? Or, a much less frequently asked question, do you remember where you were when you first heard a 9/11 conspiracy theory?

It's damn near impossible to escape the knee-jerk sentimentality that poisons the air waves. "Never Forget!", comes the admonishment from millions of bumper stickers and glazed-eyed reporters from coast to coast. Indeed.

Yes, I do remember where I was on September 11th, 2001. I was in my first month of high school, wandering around lost in the hallways in a new town when I heard an uproar coming from a nearby assembly room. What was meant to be a quick peak of investigation turned into me skipping the rest of my classes and staying glued to the television that had been set up to broadcast the news coverage of the attacks. I remember being overcome with a bevy of emotions; from fear to confusion, anger to grief, and all intertwined with an undercurrent of shock and disbelief. I don't think anyone can say that they honestly took the news in stride.

It seems to me that ten years ago today the circus came to town, set up shop, and has since refused to vacate the premises. Cancer-growled carnival barkers sounding more demonic than a Tom Waits album played backwards screaming up a frenzy of fear, war, and death. Whether you subscribe to the party line that a small and determined group of hate-filled Arabs want nothing more than to bring the very roof down upon your head; or the more fringe belief that the terror attacks were in some way orchestrated by the very powers responsible for our safety in order to begin a war fueled by greedy industrial interests, the fact of the matter is there are some frighteningly malevolent entities pulling at some important strings far beyond the vision of the average citizen.

I just think it is time that we as a nation matured beyond the point of commemorating such an historic event with what amounts to a series of Hallmark card quotations. "We will never forget," or "All gave some, but some gave all," and the list goes on. And if I see one more Facebook status update displaying a cute ASCII art American Flag asking to "pass it on if you're a true American," I'm going to be sick.

Maybe it's time we put all of this in the past, where it belongs. I'm not saying we should forget the sacrifices made by Americans on that day, or that we should stop caring about the countless people who lost someone close to them that day. But maybe, just maybe, it is time we stopped letting these memories control our political theater. Maybe it is time that we begin to strive for a better world, rather than spend so much time defending the institutions that have led us to this impasse.

Here's what you can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defence each year, and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, for ever, in peace.

Bill Hicks
It's Just A Ride.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What is "Material Support"?

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

As we gear up for the tenth anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, there has been no shortage of coverage from every imaginable information source. From CNN to Al-Jazeera, FOX News to Twitter, and everything in between, the deluge of drivel pouring through hyperspace is staggering to say the least. Here's an interesting piece I stumbled across today.

From The criminalization of speech since 9/11

In this article by Justin Elliot, he discusses the impact that blind patriotism has had on the right to free speech in the decade after 9/11. Elliot gives the example of a 24-year old Virginia man who was arrested last week for posting a YouTube video of a propaganda tape from a known Pakistani terrorist organization named Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT. Officially, the man who posted the video, Jubair Ahmad, is being charged with providing "Material Support" to an officially designated terrorist group.

The immediate question is, what constitutes "Material Support"? If you had asked me outside of the context of this article, I would have guessed that material support would be supplying money or weapons to a terrorist group, or providing them with safe haven. I certainly wouldn't imagine that something as benign as posting a YouTube video could result in such a dramatic response. Of course, I haven't seen the offending video myself, but it would seem to me that one would be better served pursuing those perpetrating the acts committed on the film rather than those distributing them.

It all comes back to this elusive legal term, "Material Support." Jeremy Elliot provides the following definition in his article:
What does the material-support law say, exactly?

It gives the government the power to designate non-U.S. groups as foreign terrorist organizations based on very broad criteria. That includes whether the group has used or threatened to use a weapon against personal property; whether the group's activities undermine our national defense, foreign relations or economic interests. What is most problematic about the law, though, is "material support" has been interpreted so broadly. It is used regardless of whether the provider has the intent to support terrorism, or whether any specific act of terrorism has taken place or is being planned, and even to include pure speech and advocacy.
Of course, you can see how such a wide definition can easily be interpreted to fit the needs of the controlling political body, as nearly every act of protest, even peaceful acts, can be seen to have an adverse effect on at least one of the described targets; be it national defense, foreign relations, economic interests, or some combination therein.

Now, I'm not arguing that supporting violent terrorist groups by distributing their propaganda should be encouraged. In fact, I find it to be down right tasteless. But setting the precedent for arresting citizens for posting content to public websites like YouTube is a frightening concept. Why not simply take the video down, like they do with so many clips that are guilty of copy-right infringement? Why lock a man in a cage when he has himself committed no act of violence?

Surprisingly enough, this "Material Support" law has been in place since long before 9/11. Back in 1969 the Supreme Court held that First Amendment rights took precedence in such cases regarding the distribution of propaganda, saying that "even advocacy of violence can be criminalized only when it is intended to result in imminent criminal conduct and if it is likely to produce imminent criminal conduct." Yet, with the ever expanding usage of political rhetoric to fit the needs of the governing machine, this definition has been scrapped in favor of one that allows for more government control on free speech. In the Supreme Court case last year of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, it was ruled that "the government can in fact criminalize speech, including speech that advocates only lawful activity, in part on the theory that speech might legitimize a terrorist group." How's that for hypocrisy in the land of the free??

So be careful the next time you post a video supporting the acts of fringe groups like Anonymous. Certainly their recent crusade against the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) authority of San Francisco can be seen as damaging to economic interests by disrupting the traffic of workers on their commute. How long until the caveat of the designated terrorist groups being foreign is discarded, and every group that sets their voice against the government is considered an enemy of the state? Call me misanthropic, but in my eyes this is only a stone's throw away from the stories out of China of peaceful bloggers disappearing in the night. To the FEMA camps with you, peaceful dissenters!

Hope that gave you something to chew on, kids.

Enjoy The Ride.

All thought-crimes will be persecuted to the full extent of the law.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I bet this will make you feel old.

20 years ago today, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was commercially released as a single.

Stay tuned throughout the weekend, where I will be giving an in-depth look into another anniversary that is fast approaching. Bet you can't guess what it is...;-)

Keep your fingernails clean, kids. Stay out of trouble.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vive La France!

Say what you will about this story, but hell, it's certainly different.

From Life's Great Clues: Alien chip found in the skull of Napoleon Bonaparte

French doctor Andre Dubois, on a grant from the French government, was performing an examination of the exhumed skeleton of general Napoleon Bonaparte in an effort to discover the root of the man's famed short stature. Hoping to see if a pituitary disorder was to blame for Bonaparte's diminutive height, Dubois instead stumbled upon what he claims to be an advanced microchip embedded in Napoleon's skull. A microchip which he claims is extraterrestrial in origin.

Even more interesting, Dubois claimed that the microchip had been implanted in Napoleon at a young age, explaining that the bone of his skull had partially grown around the implant. Apparently, when Napoleon was 25 he was captured and briefly imprisoned during the Themidorian coup in July of 1794. Yet no record of this arrest exists, and the only piece of corroborating evidence is that Napoleon did in fact disappear for several days. Shortly after his return to his troops he began his stellar rise through the ranks. Within a year of his disappearance Napoleon was in charge of all French troops in Italy, and less than a decade after had crowned himself emperor of France, postulating that all of this history occurred at the behest of an invisible alien hand tampering with the course of human development.

Of course, it is more than possible that all of this is just another internet hoax. But for me, personally, this is one legend I'd rather not have debunked. I get too much enjoyment out of the thought that extra terrestrial beings chose a pint-sized war monger as their instrument for causing turmoil across Europe, bent on some convoluted goal that is beyond our understanding. Something about the prospect of a midget general as the unwitting champion of alien forces just makes me giggle inside.

Enjoy the day, kids. It's only getting weirder.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words...

...or a little jail time, depending on what you're shooting.

From Police Say They Can Detain Photographers If Their Photographs Have 'No Apparent Esthetic Value'

Ooh we go.

So, the police department in Long Beach, CA is causing some waves in the media this week after detaining a tourist for taking pictures of a refinery last month. In defense of their actions, the police laid down some self serving rhetoric about the need to remain vigilant in the face of possible terrorist plots for the defense of the nation. Indeed. Should a police officer come across a shady individual photographing the support structures of a suspension bridge for a lengthy period of time, or perhaps the security measures for a nuclear power plant, odds are you may want to detain the individual for a moment or two.

However, the words used by the department to outline their responsibilities in detaining possible trouble makers are that it is the responsibility of the police to detain an individual who is taking pictures that have "no apparent aesthetic value." Ho-ho! How's that for an open-ended definition??

Now granted, the images taken of the refinery aren't something that I would immediately frame and hang on the wall. But who am I, or any police officer for that matter, to determine the aesthetic value of a photograph? Sure, I may think the picture is ugly as sin, but that doesn't mean the photographer needs to be detained by the police under suspicion of terrorism.

Kinda brings you back to the golden days of the moral battle against pornography. The Supreme Court, in their infinite wisdom, defined pornography as anything that "causes sexual thought, and has no artistic merit." Sounds like an acceptable definition, until you realize that just about every commercial you see on television is, by that definition, blatant pornography and thus not suitable for our children. Hooray for double standards!

Anyway, while the Long Beach police department have admitted that none of their officers have undergone any sort of specific training to ascertain what may be considered as being devoid of aesthetic value, they still will be held responsible for approaching individuals taking "suspicious" pictures, and detaining these people.

So watch where you point those cameras, kids. You might be a terrorist and not even know it! Or even worse, a pornographer!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

BACK in the saddle again!

What's up freaks??

I'm Back!!

Unfortunately, as the song goes, my brain is just a jellyfish in the ocean of my head. And there is no way I can force myself to provide you loyal readers with something worth reading. Just wanted to shoot something out to let you all know that I will be returning tomorrow in force. The electricity is back on, and moe.down is behind us. No obstacles remain to prevent me from blowing your minds.

So until then, check out this clip from the weekend's festivities. It was one helluva high time.

"And the colored girls go: 'do-doodoo, do-doodoodoo'"