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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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Jeff Bezos’ rocket company beats SpaceX to landing its first rocket

Eric Burger via Ars Technica:

Jeff Bezos finally one-upped Elon Musk in space. On Tuesday Bezos’ company, Blue Origin, announced its New Shepard space vehicle had ascended to 100.5km and returned successfully to the ground near its West Texas launch site.

“Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts—a used rocket,” said Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, in a statement. “Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard space vehicle flew a flawless mission—soaring to 329,839 feet and then returning through 119mph high-altitude crosswinds to make a gentle, controlled landing just four-and-a-half feet from the center of the pad. Full reuse is a game changer, and we can’t wait to fuel up and fly again.”

Like Blue Origin, Musk’s SpaceX is attempting to build a reusable Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 booster, but so far the company’s efforts to land its rocket on a mobile, seaborne platform have not been successful.

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7 Language Tricks Politicians Use to Deceive You and What to Do About it (According to George Orwell)


Via HighExistence:

By concentrating on essays along with fiction, according to Hitchens, writing in Why Orwell Matters, Orwell was able to take on “the competing orthodoxies and despotisms of his day with little more than a battered typewriter and a stubborn personality.”2

But what makes Orwell stand out from the other great humanists of the 20th century, and why he should matter to you, is the way he took that stubborn personality of his and used it to tackle many of his own despotic and prejudicial inclinations. Hitchens expands:

The evidence of his upbringing and instincts is that he was a natural Tory [conservative] and even something of a misanthrope…3 He had to suppress his distrust and dislike of the poor, his revulsion from the ‘coloured’ masses who teemed throughout the empire, his suspicion of Jews, his awkwardness with women and his anti-intellectualism. By teaching himself in theory and practice, some of the teaching being rather pedantic, he became a great humanist.

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