Author Archive | Frater Isla

Vancouver Shames London With Homeless Shelter-Benches

raincity_benches 01In the wake of those nasty London “Anti-Homeless Spikes” we’ve all been seeing, RainCity Housing in Vancouver has installed shelter-benches that can be transformed immediately into a shelter by unfolding the back.  “Now, how do we get our bums over to Vancouver..?” London thinks to itself.

Boris Johnson condemned the practice of putting metal spikes in doorways to deter rough-sleepers as “ugly, self defeating and stupid” – so maybe the London mayor could take a lead from the city of Vancouver when it comes to tackling homelessness.

Designed by Vancouver company Spring Advertising, these benches fold out to create an instant emergency shelter for rough sleepers.

A handful of the benches were constructed in Vancouver last year to raise awareness of homelessness in the city. When the top is flipped up, the phone number and address for local housing organisation RainCity is displayed – to encourage rough sleepers to seek help and find shelter.

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Jack Kirby and Comic Book Mysticism

Jack KirbyYou may not recognize the name Jack Kirby, but if you’ve ever argued with your friends over who gets to be Cyclops when you were playing X-Men in your backyard, then you’ve been touched by his creations.

Jack “King” Kirby was a comic book artist/writer/creator between the 30s and the 70s, whose work is arguably the most influential in the medium.  He created and co-created some of the most recognizable superheroes: Captain America, Thor, the Silver Surfer, the Hulk, the X-men, the Fantastic Four, the New Gods, and on and on.

His era of the comic industry is marred by poor pay-rates and draconian business models, where more often than not, artists were handing over their creations for pennies, and were happy just to get their name in the credits.  To make any money at it, Kirby would sit at his drawing board for twelve to fourteen hours a day, pushing out four or five comics a month.  And we’re not talking about hack junkers.  His books were vital, exciting, and changed the face of comic books.… Read the rest

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Albuquerque Protest Turns Ugly

Central Ave APD Protest
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

The Albuquerque Police Department are being investigated by the FBI after a YouTube video went up last week, showing APD shooting a homeless man who was camping, after what was reported as a standoff that lasted for hours.

This is the 22nd police shooting since 2010, and outrage has poured out over the incident, sparking the interest of the national media and even Anonymous, which led to protests against police violence all over the city Sunday night.

APD has said that the deadly use of force was warranted in this instance, because the suspect, James Boyd, had a history of mental illness and was armed with multiple knives.

I’d barely noticed the story until the protests started, and didn’t really know what to make of it.  Maybe APD did have good reason to shoot Boyd.  I don’t know.

But after witnessing cops in bullet-proof vests and gas masks shooting tear gas into a street filled with peaceful protesters, innocent by-standers, and even children, I’ve decided to err on the side of the people who weren’t being assholes.… Read the rest

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Skeleton Key to the Conspiracy: The Eriksson Twins

Sabina ErikssonThere’s a gang of YouTube videos out there “proving” that So-and-So is a shape-changing lizard alien, based solely on minor video distortions.  And (if you didn’t know) Paul’s bare feet on the cover of Abbey Road is proof that MI5 replaced him with a double when he died in 1966.

Sometimes, the most innocuous event can be touted as evidence of a conspiracy.

And sometimes, the evidence supporting a theory will be so damning that it will push that theory into the realm of “fact.”  Like Snowden’s revelations, which proved what the Alex Jones crowd had been saying for years.

But somewhere in the middle, are those events which refuse to be either proof or conjecture.  Events that merely dull Occam’s razor, leaving you with only a slightly scarred hunk of rock-solid “what if..”

A couple of years ago, I saw one of these odd moments in a BBC documentary, Madness in the Fast Lane.… Read the rest

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Robomancy: Technoccultist Joshua Madara on Arduino and the Future of Magick

hyperRitual2:30 a.m.

Four hours of trudging through circuit diagrams and forum posts that read like Chinese toaster manuals, trying desperately to figure out what “Arduinois.  I finally have a breakthrough realization: I may have reached the far end of my brain’s capacity to learn new things.

I am an idiot.  What a downer.

Luckily, I find a TED Talk by Massimo Banzi, an instructor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Italy and co-creator of Arduino, an “open-source electronics prototyping platform,” which breaks it all down for me.  Through a haze of tears, I learn how a couple of nerds have managed to turn the world of interactive technology on its head while fooling around with toys and LED displays in their bedrooms.

From what Banzi says, Arduino has slowly and quietly been taking over our technological world since 2005, when he and four friends began developing a tool that would make it easier for his students to create their own interactive electronic inventions without having to be an engineer.… Read the rest

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The Hand of Glory (A Lesson in Ps and Qs)

Hand of GloryIch bin ein Berliner.”

-John F. Kennedy

The Hand of Glory is one of those stories you hear of when you’re running around with PROFESSIONAL occultists.  Like the beat cop’s story of the junkie on angel dust, still standing after a barrage of gunfire; or the “Things I’ve Pulled out of Rectums” stories from nurses.  Stuff that blows the layman’s mind, but is just another day in the business for the pro.

The Hand is supposed to be an object of extreme occult power.  Depending on the version, it will either turn its user invisible, mesmerize victims in its vicinity, or it can tell the future.

There are varying instructions for its creation, but the most commonly cited is a delicious recipe by Petit Albert (1722) for pickling the hand of a recently hung jerkwad.

“Take the right or left hand of a felon who is hanging from a gibbet beside a highway; wrap it in part of a funeral pall and so wrapped squeeze it well.  Then put it into an earthenware vessel with zimat, nitre, salt and long peppers, the whole well powdered.  Leave it in this vessel for a fortnight, then take it out and expose it to full sunlight during the dog-days until it becomes quite dry.  If the sun is not strong enough put it in an oven with fern and vervain.  Next make a kind of candle from the fat of a gibbeted felon, virgin wax, sesame, and ponie, and use the Hand of Glory as a candlestick to hold this candle when lighted, and then those in every place into which you go with this baneful instrument shall remain motionless.”

Other versions involve dipping the hand in wax and lighting the fingers, or the use of a different set of herbs.… Read the rest

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Author Patrick J. Russell’s House Condemned to Make Way for Baseball Stadium

GE DIGITAL CAMERARight now, Mayor Patricia A. Lewis and the city council of Granville, West Virginia are probably sipping brandy and snorting lines of weapons-grade rhino horn off of a three thousand dollar coffee table while contemplating their next act of obscene evil.

At least, that’s how I will continue to picture it, as long as the mayor keeps refusing to return my calls like some kind of jilted lover.

It’s over, Trish.  I want my stuff.

I’m an agnostic, meaning when it comes to Hell, I hedge my bets.  And Mayor Lewis had better hedge hers after the bad craziness surrounding the impending eviction of author Patrick J. Russell.  Throwing a blind man and his wife out of their home and into a “polar vortex.”  Killing their dogs if a replacement home isn’t found.  It’s something you and I would only do under extreme duress and in the throes of a highly theatrical revenge plot.… Read the rest

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Rasta Zombie: Director Mitch Williamsmith On Legalization and the Undead

Rasta ZombieFull disclosure: I’m not a fan of zombies.  My favorite zombie film is still Night of the Living Dead and I only made it through about twenty minutes of the first episode of The Walking Dead before getting bored and switching to some cartoons.

I really didn’t think there was too much ground left to cover for stories about the undead.  We’ve seen proverbs of survival, criticism of consumer culture, and allegorical tales of human beings facing the personification of the primal lizard brain.

But zombies versus pot?  Scary.

Writer and director Mitch Williamsmith, along with producer Shaun Kennedy and cinematographer Brian Kennedy, are working on their new film, Rasta Zombie, which will combine marijuana activism, zombie apocalypse, and every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard.

But how can a zombie film successfully tackle a theme like marijuana legalization?  I cornered Williamsmith and demanded answers.

ISLA: Tell me about your plans for the film.Read the rest

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Kerry Thornley, Discordianism, and the JFK Assassination

Kerry ThornleyIt’s been fifty years since the Kennedy assassination.  Fifty years since the conspiracy subculture came screaming out of the hivemind’s womb.  Fifty years since the CIA made “conspiracy theorist” a derogatory term (if you believe some people).  I planned to acknowledge the day with some kind of drinking game associated with the Zapruder film, but I couldn’t make it work.

Everyone remembers where they were when Kennedy died, but no one seems to be able to pinpoint the moment they were dragged into conspiracy land.  I was ripe for it.  I believe everything I hear for at least five seconds.  And there’s something sexy about an intricate web of connections.  Thankfully, I was exposed to Robert Anton Wilson’s playful brand of agnosticism at an early age and escaped delusion’s evil clutches.

So, of course, he just had to be tied into the JFK assassination.

Wilson, in his introduction to the Prankster and the Conspiracy, says he was accused of being a CIA “handler” by author Kerry Thornley, who was convinced that he had been the subject of MK-Ultra experiments along with his army buddy, (here it comes) Lee Harvey Oswald.… Read the rest

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Eye of the Skeptic

Eye-blue“Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.”

                                     -Robert Anton Wilson

“No amount of belief makes something a fact.”

                        -The Amazing James Randi

 

“Faith” should be a four-letter word.  I propose a change in spelling.  “Fath,” maybe.

Those “I’m always right” types absolutely need faith, or else those vicious doubts start creeping in.  Not only will you find faith in the religious mind, calling God a fact, you’ll also find it lurking in the atheist, saying He isn’t.  Come to think of it, anyone who uses the word “fact” so easily must be pretty faithful, at least when it comes to their own nonsense.

One of my favorite “always right” groups to hate is the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a self-proclaimed “skeptical” organization founded by professional debunker and ex-stage magician, the Amazing Randi.  According to their website, the Foundation “was founded in 1996 to help people defend themselves from paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.”  If you look at this statement closely, you’ll see that little demon, “faith,” wearing a lab coat and a clipboard, trying to look casual in the corner.  It presupposes that “paranormal and pseudoscientific claims” are something to be defended against, and presupposition is the very antithesis of skepticism.  It goes against the very spirit of skepticism: a “questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts.”

Although I’m sure most supporters of the JREF are scoffing right now at the idea that their beliefs are grounded in faith, there’s almost certainly one thing they never question: their own senses.… Read the rest

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