What Are Animals Thinking and Feeling?


Have you ever wondered what animals think and feel? Let’s start with a question: Does my dog really love me, or does she just want a treat? Well, it’s easy to see that our dog really loves us, easy to see, right, what’s going on in that fuzzy little head. What is going on? Something’s going on.

But why is the question always do they love us? Why is it always about us? Why are we such narcissists?I found a different question to ask animals. Who are you?

There are capacities of the human mind that we tend to think are capacities only of the human mind. But is that true? What are other beings doing with those brains? What are they thinking and feeling? Is there a way to know? I think there is a way in. I think there are several ways in. We can look at evolution, we can look at their brains and we can watch what they do.Read the rest

Continue Reading

To Forgive: An Ongoing Conversation with My Apocalyptic Fundamentalist Grandmother

tanakawho (CC BY-NC 2.0)

tanakawho (CC BY-NC 2.0)

In February of this past year, I had an interesting conversation with my grandmother about ISIS, God, and the nature of forgiveness. She is an apocalyptic fundamentalist of the Christian persuasion and that is how I was raised, though I now consider myself to be agnostic. I wrote about the conversation and shared it with a few friends, as well as with my family, most of whom are also Christian fundamentalists. Barring a few Bible verses that were texted to me by an aunt (described in more detail, below) no one else in my family bothered to respond, which is fairly typical of my clan. Anything that challenges their beliefs is usually seen as a threat, and instead of engaging with me in these sorts of conversations, they often retreat and just pretend like I never said anything. I considered publishing the piece here on Disinfo, but ultimately held off…it felt very personal and I was apprehensive about it getting back to my grandmother, who might view it as some sort of betrayal.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Fujita’s Itch — The Best Book About Fascist Tornado Chasers You Will Read This Year

FI cover

Joseph Souza has been cranking out excellent horror and mystery novels for a while now. But with Fujita’s Itch, Souza takes the reader on a wild ride of absurd proportions. Joe was kind enough to meet me for a couple drinks at the Downtown Lounge to talk about his new book.

Fujita’s Itch is a kind of tripped out book, it reminds me a bit of George Saunders, but underneath it all there seems to be a bit of a message about corporate America. Is that true or am I reading too much into it?

I wrote Fujita’s Itch to be like a very bad dream that one can’t wake from. A sort of Wizard of Oz meets Frank Booth in Blue Velvet. And yes, I love George Saunders. The man writes like no one else does today, so I owe him a nod of gratitude.

It would be too easy for me to go all soft and say that Itch is anti-corporate story.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Monitoring Mosques? Fine, but Don’t Forget about Our Own Homegrown Christian Extremists

Kevin Swanson spews pro-murder hate speech at the National Religious Liberties Conference

Kevin Swanson is a fundamental extremist of the Christian persuasion. On November 6th and 7th, he hosted a pro-murder hate speech rally which was billed as the “National Religious Liberties Conference” in Des Moine, Iowa. Three GOP candidates attended this pro-murder hate speech rally, including Mike Huckabee, Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Sen. Ted Cruz.

Swanson used an archaic interpretation of the Bible as justification for imprisoning and executing homosexuals: “Yes, Leviticus 20:13 calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. Yes, in Romans Chapter 1, Verse 32, the Apostle Paul does say homosexuals are worthy of death — his words, not mine. And I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I am not ashamed of the truth, of the word of God. I am willing to go to jail for it…”

Well that’s encouraging to hear, Mr.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Where are Freddie Mercury’s Ashes?

Freddie Mercury, flamboyant front man for the rock group Queen died from complications of AIDS on November 24, 1991. Where his remains remain (ahem) are a mystery.

Mary Austin (right) was trusted with the location of Freddie Mercury's ashes. She has said that she will never tell anyone where they are, as was his wish

Mary Austin (right) was trusted with the location of Freddie Mercury’s ashes. She has said that she will never tell anyone where they are, as was his wish

The Daily Mail tells the tale. Sorry for the rhyming.

No, I’m not. Read on, True Believers:

In the days before his death, his once lithe body now  rendered extremely frail by Aids, Freddie Mercury made one final request of the woman he described as ‘the love of my life’. That she, and she alone, should collect his ashes after his cremation and dispose of them at a private location never to be disclosed.

For more than two decades Mary Austin has abided by Mercury’s wishes and kept the whereabouts of his ashes a secret. Not even his elderly parents were told.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Against Authority, Against Terror


Via Gods & Radicals:

Priests aren’t all religious.  The Media is also a kind of priesthood, foretelling the weather, telling us stories of other places, and fitting it all within a neat, Capitalist/Democratic narrative.  In this way, politicians are also priests, as are other political groups, and the events after a trauma become a pitched battle for control of meaning.

There are several hammers that Authority can wield over people to control them.  Direct violence is a bloody maul, but it’s hard to rule over people when you constantly have to break their arms.  Economic violence is another: starving people are easier to control, but it’s also hard to extract taxes from those who have nothing.  The third, and the one least addressed by any political theory I’ve yet seen, is to control Meaning.

Consider the Catholic Church’s stranglehold over the souls of the people. To disobey the Church was to lose one’s soul, to be exiled from ‘community’ (ex-communication), to lose access to the Divine, and to find yourself forever seared by eternal flames. … Read the rest

Continue Reading

Killer Mike Introduces Bernie Sanders at Atlanta Rally

If you don’t feel the Bern after watching this rousing speech, you might wanna check for a pulse!

While introducing Bernie Sanders at a rally in Atlanta on November 21st, Killer Mike called upon the spirit of Martin King the Revolutionary while discussing healthcare as a right of every citizen, raising the minimum wage, restoring the Voting Rights Act, ending the war on drugs, and insuring free education as a right for all.

He also calls Hillary “our own Margaret Thatcher.” — HA! 

Bernie/Killer Mike 2016

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Greed and Decline: The Treasure of the Knights Templar and Their Downfall

One can never read enough about the Knights Templar … so here’s some more from Ancient Origins:

The ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon,’ more commonly known as the Knights Templar, or the Templars, was one of the most renowned military orders during the Middle Ages. The source of their fame came not only from their prowess on the battlefield, but also from the wealth they amassed during the Crusades. These riches eventually led to their downfall, and became the so-called ‘Treasure of the Templars’ in the popular imagination. What exactly is the ’Treasure of the Templars’?


Members of the Knights Templar in discussion. (Public Domain)

The Finances of the Templars

The Templars were not only great warriors, but formidable financiers as well. One of the two ranks of non-fighting men, for instance, was known as the farmers, who were responsible for the administration of the Order’s worldly possessions.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Pop Art, Robber’s Masks, and Skate Culture with Alex Scher


Being a self-proclaimed movie buff, I know all too well how pretentious the film world can be, but the “art world” can be even more overbearing and stuffy. So, it’s always refreshing to encounter those who work against that “pretentious artist” stereotype. I typically gravitate to filmmakers who turn art cinema (whatever that really is) on its head. And, I suppose, there’s really no difference when it comes to other artists I admire.

I just relocated to Chicago for a stint, where I happened to meet up-and-coming artist, Alex Scher. His tongue-in-cheek, skate culture spin on pop art is a refreshing recourse to the darker, more “serious” art I often come across.

After seeing some of his work, I sat down with him to discuss art, skate culture, and whatever the hell is up with his robber’s mask obsession.

Read the rest

Continue Reading