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Thursday, February 23, 2012

War Pigs: I

It sounds like myth: the stories and rumors and half-remembered newspaper fragments:
  • Westerfeld's "Leviathan" features animals, like airwhales, that were modified for war.
  • A friend from Amityville (yes, that Amityville) tells tales of a top secret lab near Long Island that supposedly has 20 foot tall cows (presumably, these rumors spring from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center).
  • I swear to scoffers that I recall a snippet from the news: A mother lets baby cry itself to sleep--the Ferber method to teach it to comfort itself and fall asleep on its own--but then the screaming gets to be too much, and Ferberizing be damned, she goes up to comfort her child. Only to discover a rat sitting on her baby's belly, casually eating her baby's nose. (But I swear: It's nearly true!) Combine this with biblical tales of the Israelite's God smiting their foes with rodent plagues...
  • My 10th grade English teacher claimed that during the Opium War, the Chinese would strap time-bombs to ducks and throw the ducks at British ships, apparently hoping that the ducks would flap over to the enemy boats just in time for the bombs to go off. He ended his tale by dryly noting that "the Chinese lost the war."
  • Hell, even the LoS banner, top of this page, courtesy of .sWineDriveR., features, at least when I drafted this, a beast with dynamite strapped around its belly.
Like many "myths," however, these point to a largely unspoken truth: people use animals to kill other people. ("People are people, so why should it be...?")

In general, there may be no universally recognized horror in treating animals like tools, means to an end. Lab rats. Factory farms. Lab grown meat--flesh excised from the very soul--may be the logical (and, oddly, the most humane) extension of this idea (although headless chicken farms are a decidedly more extreme proposal).

But food is not the only deadly end for the animals we use: there is also war.Adrieene Mayor's Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World (2003) has a chapter dedicated to the topic, Chapter 6: Animal Allies and Scorpion Bombs. There is lots of interesting stuff in this chapter, but what grabbed me the most was her presentation of a sort of arms race that developed in the use of livestock. If you don't mind giving me a bit literary license, I will try to carve an oversimplified and loose narrative here from my poor grasp of Mayor's facts, probably to the point getting some details wrong--but all in the spirit of fun and with an attempt to convey the facts correctly as I understand them.

Let's start by imagining the simple times when ancient cavalries could just charge about on horses. One day they decide to invade some desert peoples. Only it turns out that horses find camels repugnant--smelly and funny sounding--so the horses turn tail and flee.

So the horsemen get a few of their own camels and keep them about the stables/pastures. Now their horses are used to camels and are, therefore, willing to charge into battle against them.

Now all's going pretty well for horse warfare--until some horsemen run into war elephants. The horses panic and flee.

The solution? You guessed it, get a few elephants to keep around the horses (and their camel buddies?) so that horses don't freak when fighting elephant cavalries.

Well then at some point, someone discovered that elephants detest the sound of squealing pigs, so they started bringing pigs into battles and would poke them with spears if any elephants showed up

This is turning into a flippin' circus!

--the pigs would squeal and the elephants would stampede, often killing their handlers.

In an extreme case, someone actually rubbed down a bunch of pigs with flammable resin, put them in the front of a charge, and set them on fire when the enemy elephants showed up--absolutely horrifying!

War pigs indeed.


But back to our arms race: now the elephant breeders have to get pigs to raise around their elephants.

And at this point, do horsemen need to have camels and elephants and pigs just to keep up with the whole livestock escalation?

Madness.


Well, this post is already getting a bit long, and we haven't gotten close to DARPA, so I'm going to break this into two or three parts.

Stay tuned for a follow up, War Pigs II, soon!
 

(Image source: "Squinty the Comical Pig" (1915) by Richard Barnum)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

They also put fluoride in the cookies

source: http://earlgrayscale.tumblr.com/post/5685924922/soviet-era-girl-scouts-youll-buy-the-cookies-if


This guy Morris also claims that Girl Scout role models are all "feminists, lesbians, or Communists"....this might come as a surprise to the overwelmingly vast majority of women (and men) involved with the Girl Scouts who are none of the above.  That said, if a (quite liberal) friend of mine who once worked at a Girl Scout Summer camp is to be trusted (she is), than at least two of those labels could have been accurately applied to any number of her co-counselors and staffers at the time (ten + years ago).

None of that bothers me in the slightest. Being a lesbian, Communist, or feminist doesn't disqualify anyone from being a good person, role model or leader, imho, although that's clearly a point of view not shared by Mr. Morris.

I was a Boy Scout for years (Life Scout, Order of the Arrow), summer camp counselor and then a youth leader. I eventually grew away from Scouting; after the response I witnessed by many Scouters towards a young friend of mine who'd been fondled in his sleep by a respected adult, I soured on the program altogether. For the record, the perpetrator was a loud and proud, macho-acting, ostensibly heterosexual Republican.

Which means diddly-squat, really, except that political beliefs and views on gender and/or sexuality are not the ultimate definition of character. Again, not a particularly unique point of view, but there are many who would vehemently disagree.

One weird note, Morris said he plans to withdraw his two girls from Girl Scouts, which makes me wonder why he hadn't done that already before going public with his views.  I'm not judging Morris nor the GS; the latter is a private organization and they can do what they want. Ditto Mr. Morris. I'm sure there are plenty of groups which are stridently anti-left and thoroughly straight for him to choose from.

Anyway, this is my simplified take on the issue, with a small apology if I come across as preachy or self-righteous. The latter isn't my intention; I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything. It's just that as these Santorum-types continue to capture a national audience and make their stand, I feel compelled to come down on one side or the other.

A Girl Scout response to Morris.

On a related note, which just goes to show no organization is perfect, A Wisconsin volunteer Girl Scout leader was given the boot because of her affiliation with a "goth" website called "Wisconsin Sickness"....a site dealing with the darker side of the state with an interest in its serial killers, crime, cannibalism....not your usual cookies and camping, in other words.  So maybe Morris can rest easy after all.  Her removal comes after the complaints of some squeamish soccer moms whose tolerance for the dark side is just about zero.  Not exactly the commie lesbo men-haters Morris is on about, eh?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Today is Pancake Day

Pancake from Plastic Tub

Pancakes favor community over isolation.
pancake, flapjack(s), wheatcake n. 1. A work of art, wrought by hand; the upper made lower, the idea made a kind of dough-like flesh. 2. A gift from an alien, as exemplified in the Choco Saga. 3. The end result of a recipe, a scientific investigation or an alchemical operation. 4. Fifth sign on the O'Donnely Zodiac Placemats. 5. Accidentalist totem animal, thought to have been inspired by the Ebionite Gospel of Matthew, wherein a single Greek letter is swapped, transforming locusts into wheat-cakes. 6. A breakfast meal often eaten late at night. 7. Inspiration.

Extrapolation


In an interview with Playboy magazine, Flintrock said: "I don't care if you call 'em pancakes, batter cakes, a pile of blankets, some brown bucks, or a fucking crepe I'll eat 'em. Even if you call 'em flapjacks, flats, fried mush, a gandy or a griddlecake, goddam, you can even call 'em a hot cake or a jonnycake, a manhole cover, tire patches, or wheat cakes -- I'll punch 'em, fuck 'em, eat 'em and shit 'em out. And then I'll eat 'em again."

On this note, Flintrock was notorious for boasting about the size of his "stack." Most assumed he referred to his penis, or perhaps his overt musculature, though he usually meant his "tower of power" -- again turning to euphemism, possibly confused with his cock, but most definitely referring to the sheer hulking presence of his breakfast.


Usage


"Mmmm, good pancakes." -- Alexandre Dacusse, to Jonathan Trenchwheat, 1966
"Them's some lonely looking pancakes, Sven." -- Steven Adkins to Sven, all kidding aside


See Also


Desiderata



In Ireland, Australia, and Canada, Shrove Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras) is known as Pancake Tuesday, while in Britain it is popularly known as Pancake Day. Many other international celebrations are also celebrated by vigorous pancake consumption.

IHOP, a restaurant built around a pancake-heavy menu, is suspected to be owned by the League of Gnomes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

This boot was made for floating

From CBC News, 3 days ago:


The coroner says foot bones that washed ashore in a boot found on Sasamat Lake [back in November] in Port Moody, B.C., belonged to a man who vanished while fishing on the lake in January 1987.

Nothing to say that we haven't already said before, except that Sasamat was the name of a village at the mouth of the Seymour River and apparently means "lazy people". Not to imply anything!

The white man's name for the area is Indian Arm. An arm, a mouth, a foot. Pretty soon we'll have enough to put a body together....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Temple Circuit within the Eye of Your Brain

Whereas, having recently gone back into the archives to write up things which had been percolating for a while, being otherwise bereft of any new ideas; and, taking into account carlessness in frigid weather as an important de-motivating factor, let it be hereby resolved that I shall scribble down a sparse little ditty to present this week.

Last week I saw a couple of pics on Bookface which caught my attention, independently.  But they pretty much do the same thing:  juxtapose ancient images with something unexpected; visual metaphor as a means of speculating about the source of ancient knowledge.


The first of these is an artist's rendition of an aerial view of Teotihuacan, specifically the ceremonal axis of the Pyramid of the Sun, side by side with a detail of a printed circuit board (PCB).  Pictured this way, there is indeed a similarity, but why shouldn't there be?  I don't think that someone was looking at a PCB and exclaimed "Eureka" after noticing is was almost an exact re-creation of the temple complex.  More likely is that the PCB detail, which isn't a photograph but an illustration, was created specifically to imitate the latter.  So there's nothing amazing about it.  A first view might lead to raised eyebrows and a murmured "wow,"  but really, any decent artist could make the image after making the visual connection.  Would make great raw material for R.A.W. material....Pyramid of the Simon Moon?  It's a striking visual metaphor, but certainly not "proof" that the Aztecs had some knowledge of computers or that their pyramids were landing sites for UFOs, as quite a few sites are claiming.  Unfortunately I skimmed through these before I had a notion to do this post, and I'm feeling too lazy to go back and find the links.  As the Buddha said, you can't eat the same tripe twice.

The History Channel logo at bottom right indicates that the image probably comes from the channel's Ancient Aliens series, which addresses the question:

"Is it possible that extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of science and engineering landed on Earth thousands of years ago, sharing their expertise with early civilizations?"

Well, yes, I suppose it is possible.

A fun question, sure, and one guaranteed to attract a decent-sized audience.  Over the years I've heard lots of theories like this, it's a well-entrenched part of our shared pop mythology:  certain Inca monuments are revealed to be giant animals only visible from the air; an image of a Mayan king from Palenque appears to be reclining and surrounded by "dials" indicating that the king was in fact an astronaut; the perfect cut and tight joints of the massive blocks forming the Egyptian pyramids could not have been effected by human, especially ancient human hands.  All this was given wide circulation by Swiss author Erich von Däniken, whose bestseller Chariots of the Gods? (1968 in the US) litters my childhood memories.  Däniken wasn't the first to espouse the theory that ancient civilizations were in contact with ET, but an industry has flourished under his inspiration since the 70s.  All very neat, but it's harder to swallow when we learn the man himself has been arrested several times and convicted on charges linked to fraud, embezzlement, forgery....  

By the by, I think it was Charles Fort in The Book of the Damned (1919) that first discussed this theory, without actually espousing it.  This from a little digging about.  Add another book to the wish list. 

Some of course will simply see the arrests as efforts by "the Man" to supress Däniken's ideas.  One could be generous and say he merely wanted to fund his travels and research in order to sustain his mission, at any cost, like an independent filmaker selling pot to fund his films.  Less generous would be to say the man's a clever bullshit artist who wanted to live the life of a "playboy" (to use the words of the Swiss high court), funding his endeavours one paperback at a time.  That along with "repeated and sustained" criminal activity linked to being a thief and a liar.  Not to mention that on at least one occasion he has admitted to using fraudulent evidence...

Hell, I like Stargate as well as the next guy, but I'm sure it's a bit annoying to those Egyptians and various groups of Amerindians to read that their ancestors weren't clever enough to build great monuments and understand the movements of the stars....


Origin of the image unknown.  Apologies to its maker, but this one appears to have gon viral....
A second image which caught my fancy compares the Eye of Horus, forerunner of the Eye of Providence used by Catholics, Freemasons and the Illuminati, to the structure of the human brain...I suppose this is more "objective" than our first image....one simply cannot redesign the Eye or the brain to make them match, but I haven't seen the proposition but forth by any professional Egyptologists.  One site included this image in its "proofs" of ancient alien contact...how could the Egyptians have had such "astonishing " knowledge?   

This isn't astonishing at all.  I don't propose that the Eye of Horus is a diagram of the brain, but the Egyptians were certainly, perhaps above all other ancient civilizations, in a good position to have had this kind of knowledge.  After all, their priests were also skilled morticians; removing human organs for preservation in canopic jars was an important part of the mummification process.  Apparently, the brain was an exception; they pulled it out through the nose after mashing it into a liquid state with a special tool.  They didn't consider the brain to be of the utmost importance, so using such an important symbol of divinity to represent it wouldn't have made much sense. So for us, this is a real no-brainer.  Heh heh.  One would have to imagine, however, that at some point during the millennia they practiced mummification, they'd have taken a good look at a human brain.  So while I think they were knowledgeable enough to have modelled the Eye of Horus on the human brain, I don't think they would have.  If anything, they would have modelled it on the heart,  which they believed "to be the center of a person's being and intelligence."

What the image above doesn't show is the pineal gland, found  just below the rear of corpus callosum.  This gland is often referred to as the "third eye," by Blavatsky, among others.  Indeed, the gland "produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions." Nifty metaphorical function aside ("waking up" as in "becoming aware" or even "enlightened"), isn't seratonin a major factor in the influence of mood whose level is affected by the use of mind-altering drugs, sex, meditation....?  OK, I'm not a neurochemist, but isn't it interesting that the structure said to be represented by the Eye of Horus contains the third eye?  Even if the Egyptians didn't see it that way?

Which is probably enough to show that I know just about fuck all when it comes to the human brain.  Or the Eye of Horus.  And I'm betting most of these people claiming that one represents the other are in the same boat.  Which is really, all I wanted to say on this subject, admittedly interesting, fraught with the pitfalls of bad science, bad archeology and "bad" thinking....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The power of Christ compels you

 

We have in past posts demonstrated that sausages have been used as a spiritual weapon in the cosmic battle of good and evil, both by the Devil and Jesus.

Furthermore, several companies, obvious Satanic fronts, tap into the power of the Horned One to sell their products, whether mousetraps or spreadable meat in a can.
 
But if the Anti-Christ's gonna play this way, Christ is gonna try and best him, tit for tat.  Can Old Scratch come close to cassoulet in a can, especially when it comes, apparently, straight from God?  The web page for this company is illuminating; the company slogan:  "From Father to Son."

Indeed. 

We can't help but notice that checkerboard pattern....we've seen it before.  What does it all mean?  The great chessboard where good and evil play their game?  Food fit for dogs?  Masonic hoodwink?  You be the judge....