03 December, 2013

Pluckers and Twangers

The sketch opens with Zippy peeling a banana...

Zippy: "One skin, two skin, three skin, four.... "

George: "Zippy, where is Bungle?"

Zippy: "I think Geoffrey is trying to get him up"
We see a view of the door and hear Bungle moaning from behind it.

Bungle: "Geoffrey, I can't get it in"

Geoffrey: "You managed it last night"

Bungle: "I know, let's try it round the other way around. Ooooooh, I've got it in"

Bungle and Geoffrey enter the studio with Bungle carrying a hammer and peg kit

Bungle: "Would you stick this on the shelf, George"

George: "I can't reach, you'll have to stick it up yourself,

Geoffrey: (to camera) "Hello everyone, today we are talking about playing"

Bungle: "Playing with each other, Geoffrey?"

Geoffrey: "Yes Bungle, do you have a special friend that you like to play with?"

George: "Yesterday we played with our balls.
Are we going to play with our friend's balls today?"

Bungle: "Yes, and we can play with our twangers as well."

Geoffrey (to camera): Have you seen Bungles twanger?

Zippy: "Oh I have, I showed him how to pluck with it."

Bungle: "It's my plucking instrument."
Geoffrey asks the audience if they can pluck like Bungle

Zippy: "I can, I'm the best plucker here."

George: "And I'm good at banging. My peg's hard isn't it Zippy?"

Zippy: "Well of course it is, Your peg wouldn't go in if it was soft."

Geoffrey: "Let's get back to Bungle's twanger."

Bungle (excited): "Oooooh Geoffrey, we could all paint our twangers couldn't we?"

George: "Let's sing that plucking song."

Bungle: "Rod and Roger can get their instruments out and Jane has got two lovely Maracas."

Singers Rod, Roger and Jane enter.

Rod: "We could hear you all banging away."

Roger: "Banging can be fun."

Jane: "Ooooh yes, and I was banging away all last night with Rod and Roger."

Roger (looking sad): "Yes, but it broke my plucking instrument."

Geoffrey: "Never mind Roger, let sing the plucking song, come on everybody get your instruments out."

Rod (to Jane): "Do you want to blow on my pipe while I'm twanging away?"

Jane: "Oh no Rod, I was blowing a lot with Roger last night. But would you
like to play with my maracas?"

Zippy: "No, let's just pluck away with our twangers."

Bungle: "Yes, it doesn't matter what size your twanger is."

Zippy: "I've got a big red one."

George: "I've only got a tiny twanger. But it works well and I like to play with it."

Geoffrey (to viewers): "Well, have you got your twangers out? And remember, you can bounce your balls at the same time. If you haven't got any balls, ask a friend if you can play with his. Now, let's all sing the plucking song."

Everyone in studio: "Pluck, pluck, pluck away, we're going to pluck all day today.
Pluck, pluck, pluck away, we're going to pluck all day."

Geoffrey (to viewers): " It's time for us all to go now, but don't forget to get your twangers out and play with your balls
See you soon.  Bye."

I am making this material available in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107: This article is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License

30 November, 2013

Who still believes this shit, and why?!

I will never be able to understand how large swaths of people can still be convinced to invest more in the opinions and observations of a few people from centuries ago - (people who could not even conceive of a round earth or how to send electricity through metal)...

And to dismiss the opinions and observations of thousands of people that come from a much more complete and modern perspective.

28 November, 2013

Quinoa Burgers


Epic Crispy Quinoa Burgers
Topped with Sweet Potato Fries,
Beer Caramelized Onions + Gruyere

Prep Time: 20 minutes / Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4-5 Burgers

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.


Quinoa Burgers

  • 2 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1 cup cannellini beans, mashed
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon peper
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 of your favorite burger buns

For just the patties -

In a bowl combine:

  • the quinoa,
  • mashed cannellini beans,
  • bread crumbs,
  • egg,
  • garlic,
  • chipotle chile powder,
  • salt and pepper.

Mix well to moisten the ingredients and then:

  • mix in the shredded cheddar cheese.

Mix well again and form into 4 or 5 equal burger patties.

In a skillet - add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Grab the quinoa burgers and cook until golden and crisp, about five minutes per side.


The rest of the story...

  • 4 eggs cooked to your liking, optional (but recommended)!
Sweet Potato Fries
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, cut into thin 1/2-inch thick strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4-1/2 cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil

Beer caramelized onions

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup beer (I used pumpkin beer)


  1. In a bowl combine the quinoa, mashed cannellini beans, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, chipotle chile powder, salt and pepper. Mix well to moisten the ingredients and then mix in the shredded cheddar cheese. Mix well again and form into 4 or 5 equal burger patties (I made 5). Place on a plate and put in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Place cut potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with oil, chipotle chile powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Gently toss with your hands or two spatulas to evenly coat. Spread on a baking sheet in one layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then flip and bake for 15-20 minutes more. You want the sweet potatoes to be crispy, but not burnt. If you want perfectly crisp fries I recommend spreading the sweet potatoes on a greased wire rack and baking them as directed above. But this way is a bit of a pain. Keep the sweet potato fries warm until ready to top on the burgers.
  4. While the fries cook caramelize the onions. Heat large skillet. Add 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.
  5. At this point you want to slowly add the beer, let it cook into the onions, add more and let it cook. Do this until the 1 cup of beer is gone or the onions are caramelized to your liking and the beer has evaporated. Remove from the skillet and keep warm.
  6. In the same skillet add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Grab the quinoa burgers and cook until golden and crisp, about five minutes per side. During the last minute or so of cooking add the Gruyere cheese, cover the pan and cook 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted. My burgers were not crumbly at all and very easy to flip.
  7. To assemble the burgers, place each burger on a bun, top with equal amounts of caramelized onions and sweet potato fries. If desired add you egg. EAT!
Inline image 1

Inline image 2

17 November, 2013

02 November, 2013

Cupcake Recipe with the French Buttercream Iceing

This cupcake recipe, with the French Buttercream -http://goo.gl/Z7EidI (add in seedless strawberry jam...)

    1 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup butter
    2 eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 cup low-fat milk
    1 lemon, juice and zest


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners

  1. Cream sugar and 1/2 cup butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy.
  2. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and mix 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract into mixture with the second egg.
  3. Beat in flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined;
  4. Beat in milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest to make a smooth batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until cupcake edges are slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool cupcakes completely

Top with the (strawberry jam added) French Buttercream -http://goo.gl/Z7EidI

21 October, 2013

EFFECTS OF PURE EVIL... On teddy bears...

From the Institute for Dangerous Research, Department of Mad Biology

  1. A sample of Pure Evil was obtained from the ruins of an exploded toaster in the south of England.
  2. Pure Evil was administered, via drinking water, to pregnant laboratory teddy bears for the duration of their pregnancy (4 months).
  3.  Dosage varied from 0 parts per million (ppm) to 1000ppm, titrating upwards by steps of 100ppm.
  4. Offspring were euthanized and mounted for display.

  1. Pure Evil has strong teratogenic effects, with a tendency to produce asymmetry.
  2. These effects vary widely, without a clear progression along a phenotypic path.
  3. At higher doses, there can be inclusions of tissue from other species (kingdom? phyla? We have yet to identify that purple wiggly stuff in specimen #7)

  1. Specimen #9: This lump of discolored stuffing was miscarried at 2 months.
  2. At the dosage of 1000ppm, pregnancy appeared to be reabsorbed before the two month mark. Administration of Pure Evil at the same dosage continued. By the 3 month mark, subject developed dental hypertrophy, ocular luminescence, and extreme behavioral changes. At 3 months 2 weeks, subject chewed through the steel bars of its cage, after which it killed two graduate students. Subject was euthanized with a sustained burst of automatic weapons fire.

Pure Evil's teratogenic effects at even low dosages indicate that it should be treated as an extremely hazardous material and every effort should be made to prevent its entering the water table and the food chain. While it has the potential at higher doses to be used in the development of environmental contamination in the event of escape, strongly skew the cost-benefit analysis in the direction of HOLY CRAP DON'T USE THIS STUFF.

08 October, 2013

Right out of the womb

That most people encounter a forced religious / spiritual perspective right out of the womb... It becomes the first filter they look through, in order to process reality.

The less InQuisitive ©®ᵀᴹ (lower I.Q. http://goo.gl/kHmBg ) are not only less able to step out side of that perspective, but are more inclined to cling to it at all costs. The perspective goes from a looking glass to a by-proxy / default hiding place (http://goo.gl/rzet5).

For these people, it is far easier to unquestioningly call something a ghost if one has already been told that it must be a ghost.
Choices always were a problem for you.
What you need is someone strong to guide you.
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow,
what you need is someone strong to use you..
like me,
like me.

If you want to get your soul to heaven,
trust in me.
Don't judge or question.
You are broken now,
but faith can heal you.
Just do everything I tell you to do.
Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.
Let me lay my holy hand upon you.

Religion is not a prerequisite for self-improvement. #prerequisite

Certain philosophical processes may come in to play... But - that in-and-of-its-self is not religion.

Admittedly most of the popular philosophies have been codified, edified and turned in to an administered product.

I point to Zen-Buddhism as being a prime example. The Secular approach has great potential for helping a person to gain a cleaner and clearer perspective. The non-secular version has taken a simple concept and turned it in to a religious practice that convinces the individual to look outward for something that resides within.

The crux being that if you have been told from an early age that deism is the extent of existence, it very unlikely that such a perspective is capable of thinking outside that box... Thus all answers related to avarice or adversity (and everything in between) must fit through the buttonhole that deism creates. Few who live with that perspective are even capable of understanding its limitations.

Those who understand that it is unreasonable to take religion literally, are by default, assuming at least some degree of secularism.

So secular vs. non-secular. Where the secular recognize their choice, they also recognize the 'choice' that the non-secular makes, and why. 

The same cannot (always) be said in reverse. The non-secular, not only are unable to recognize their perspective, they are also unable to fathom the 'why' of how come they have such a perspective to begin with...

Here is an example of an inherently flawed criticism / observation - #flawed
Atheism - The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason which then turned into dinosaurs.

It is sarcastic... Which is always nice to see... But its wit is still an Argument from Ignorance.

It is saying that if you don't immediately know the answer... Then the answer must therefore be supernatural!

Spirituality at-large relies (almost solely) on its adherents completely ignoring the collision created when estimating a line of reasoning against the 'Argument from Ignorance'.

Contextually, and in it simplest form, it is this: I don't know... It must be ~god~

Seeing the inanity of this approach does not even require invoking baseline pragmatism. It is self-evident.

Though, the Spiritualist and Deist don't even realize that this is what they are captivated by.

While those of us who are not mesmerized...

I read the news today, oh boy!


20 September, 2013


Japan's Little Pebble Commune

The Little Pebble Commune is the weirdest sex cult in the world, patiently awaiting secret messages from the Virgin Mary, lubing up a pregnant woman's nude body with yogurt and then having sex with her at an altar while the other members look on patiently. There's also the fact that a former priest, excommunicated by the Pope himself, who also happens to be a convicted child molester -- sentenced to more than three years for assaulting a fifteen-year-old -- performs the ceremony. 

The Satanists of Ash Tree 

The Satanists of Ash                        Tree
Colin Batley once said: "Some of the most passionate and permanent attachments have begun with rape." It is somewhat unsurprising then that in 2011, this fringe group (who has decided this is a fringe group, and how is that the same or different from a cult? Again, we have the same naming issues) leader was convicted of 35 sex offenses against children and young adults, landing him in prison for 22 years.

 The Raelians

The Raelians
Raelism is a UFO-based religion (according to their website) in which extraterrestrials, called Elohim, promised earthlings peace and sex robots. It was formed by Claude Vorilhon, who used to be a singer and race car driver, changed his name to Rael and now dresses like a sci-fi geek. Raelists practice free love and sensual meditation while they wait for the mothership to return.

The House Of Yahweh 

The House Of Yahweh
Cult leader Yisrayl "Buffalo Bill" Hawkins is mainly known for believing he could predict the date the world would end, but maybe that was just a cover for the illegal sex acts. Hawkins was arrested for bigamy in 2008 for having four wives, although the charges were dismissed due to the expiration of the statue of limitations. Another member, elder Yedidiyah Hawkins, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of his then 14-year-old stepdaughter.

Children Of God  

Children Of God
The group reportedly used seduction to recruit new members
One of the "tune in and drop out" cults of the 60s, this group is known for allegations of strange sexual behavior. In the 70s and 80s, they engaged in a practice called "Flirty Fishing." Basically, this means women converts seducing men, telling them about this great new group they should check out, and the dudes showing up at the group looking to get laid again and getting sucked in. In the 90s, one of their leaders said that child-adult sex was not inherently wrong. Women members are encouraged to think about Jesus during sex or masturbation, and imagine that He is working his magic on them. Men are simply encouraged to imagine women, because imagining Jesus, as a guy, would apparently cross the line.

Chronicles of Gor 

Chronicles of Gor
A series of 1960s fantasy novels, Chronicles of Gor inspired the sadomasochistic life of Lee Thompson, a self-styled "sex master". Thompson not only paraded his girlfriend through town on a leash but was sentenced to three years in prison for sexual coercion after forcing his other lovers to have sex with other men against their will — once, just so he could use a computer in a cybercafé without paying.

The Alleged Cannibals of Papa New Guinea 

The Alleged Cannibals                        of Papa New Guinea
Are you in the market for a sex cult where members kill "sorcerers" and then enjoy a light supper of raw brains and penis soup? Then this Papa New Guinea cannibal sex cult just might be for you. This blood-drinking, penis-soup-making cult became public knowledge when the police raided their Biamb village in the summer of 2012, and arrested 29 people, eight of them women, on murder charges. The leader of the cult has not yet been found; meanwhile, their trial proceeds.

Ohio Sex Group 

Ohio Sex Group
Four Ohio men were charged with "masterminding beard and hair-cutting attacks" on fellow Amish people. During the trial, one witness alleged that Samuel Mullet, the group's alleged ringleader, was coercing members of his community to turn over their wives to him for counseling. This "counseling" allegedly consisted of non-consensual sex and physical punishments, such as locking the woman in a chicken coop in midwinter. Mullet was not been charged on those grounds; however, he was convicted of encouraging the assaults on his fellow Amish and faces ten years in jail.

The Warren Jeffs LDS Offshoot 

The Warren Jeffs LDS                        Offshoot
Polygamist and cult leader Warren Jeffs is serving a 130-year sentence for systematic child sexual assault and marrying off underage girls. From his jail cell, he informed his 10,000 followers that the "no sex ban" is to remain in place until further notice. One of the cornerstones of Jeffs' group is that there are 15 men who have been "chosen" to father all the future children of his church.

19 September, 2013

The earliest of limitations.

So if there is no proof for 'evolution'...

There is even less 'proof' for whatever other explanations are being offered.

The biggest problem with the justifications for discarding 'evolution' are that they are founded upon assertions that have their roots firmly planted in a mythology / belief system that originated when humans still had very limited abilities to evaluate their environment...

Among other things... At the time, these peoples did not even know there was a North or South America. Nor were they aware of earths movement... The list of what these peoples could not have known is endless...

At the very least, there is nothing compelling to give credence to one explanation or the other...

Though 'evolution' does have the advantage of relying upon newer information.

Even the slightest modicum of reasoning should be capable of valuing newer information over what was offered from a necessarily limited perspective.

It is unfair to judge or criticize those who created the earliest of explanations... They did the best they could with what they had at hand.

The process of 'the best they could with what they had at hand.' continues to this day.

Refusing to appreciate the continued efforts, by out-of-hand dismissing those efforts, is an insult to humanities ongoing abilities to observe, understand and learn.

Such dismissals actively damage humanities ability to observe, understand and learn.

28 August, 2013

The Bible is not a single book.

The Bible is not a single book.

(Found on the web the other day. For the life of me, I can't find the source... I copy / pasted the article {in to Sticky Notes} so I could read it later because my PC needed to reboot... Lost the page I found it on)

There is no "Biblical view" of anything, because there is no single hand behind the Bible. There are dozens, hundreds of views, and they are arguing with each other. Of course the book is full of contradictions; it was never meant to represent a consensus!

In short, there is not, nor has there ever been, a way to think of the Bible as a single book with a single, consistent story or a single, consistent view. Rather, the Bible is the record of a centuries-long argument over the nature of the divine and the nature of humanity, mixed in with all sorts of other things: folk tales from Sumer (most of Genesis up to and including the Flood, except for the family history bits, is lifted straight from Sumerian texts, and you can find their cousins in the library at Nineveh), family history, political arguments including praise and criticism of the people who were in power at the time that the various books were being written, etc.

Take the Torah, for example, the first five volumes of the Hebrew Bible, and the oldest layer of the text. It started out as two separate texts, known as "J" and "E," written in the southern area of Judah and the northern area of Israel respectively, ca 950BCE and 850BCE. (They get their names from the different names used for God in them: J uses YHWH ("Jehovah" in German, thus J) and E uses Elohim. This has deep roots in the fact that the two regions historically had different religions, and Judaism emerged in part from their fusion) These two texts were merged into a single text by an editor who made various changes in both to merge them, a few hundred years later; then further texts were added by a priestly author (P) in a very different context of having serious political authority, and more editing happened, etc. (If you want to see a good snapshot of this, I recommend The Bible With Sources Revealed, which is a Torah highlighted and color-coded by our best estimate of who wrote each line)

Later additions get even more interesting. Job was written by three different people, who proceeded to have an argument over how to interpret the existence of evil by means of injecting their own bits into the same book. (If you want to read this book, I suggest The Wisdom Books, below, for its introductions that give you a good map of what's going on; the mutually contradictory opinions jammed in there by force make it really hard to follow otherwise)

The Christian texts have an even more varied history. To date, we know of 27 different Gospels, and more epistles and apocalypses than I can easily count. The decision of which of these books would be made "canonical" was an intensely political one, made over several centuries, driven primarily by the needs of bishops and emperors. The choice of the four canonical gospels, for example, was very specific: these were the gospels which gave the strongest support to the significance of the priesthood, to the orthodox view that the Son and the Father are "of the same substance," and therefore that the appointment of Peter and his successors as priests was divinely ordained, etc. Entire categories of texts, such as "wisdom gospels" (basically, collections of Jesus sayings, like the Gospel of Thomas), or mystical gospels (ones which focus more on personal holiness and the powers which derive from it, like Valentinus or Mary Magdalene) were excluded. The Revelation of St. John was put in because there was a huge fashion for apocalypses at the time, and there was a decision to pick one as canonical to end the fight over dueling revelations.

If you try to read the Bible as a single consistent thread, you either have to ignore half of what you read, twist yourself into knots to claim logic, or have your head explode. But if you read this book as a slice through a long and complex history, you'll start to see the tremendous richness of centuries of human life.

Consider it this way: the Hebrew texts were edited in a few major layers, during the first Monarchy, during the periods of civil war which followed the first Monarchy, and with many addenda written in the Babylonian and post-Babylonian periods. The parts about the Monarchy itself -- about David and Solomon and so on -- were written in the immediate aftermath of their lives, with the country in the midst of perpetual civil war between their various successors. Yet people were writing about the "founders of their country" -- and said founders do not always come off particularly well in the story. (cf: pretty much anything involving Saul or Batsheba)

The infinite chains of begats and the stories of Abraham and so on are raw family history: it's literally a family's logbook of important events as they went from living in Ur to making a play for nationhood. And the family is sometimes sane, sometimes crazy. (I'm related to these people. Believe me, the family is sometimes crazy.)

The "wisdom literature" -- the proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs -- is a bunch of text added on later, by people who were trying to understand the true meaning and nature of life. They did not have a perspective anything like most preachers you will encounter today; how many churches are going to tell you that life happens for reasons we can never really fathom, that sometimes evil wins over good, that everything we do is probably ultimately futile anyway, and so the best we can do is live fully but humbly, and enjoy the day?

Open up the Christian texts; better yet, go beyond the canonical ones and pick up Thomas. Look at the older gospels, at Mark and Matthew, before Paul showed up and started to turn this into a new religion. Read Jesus' words in the context of his own life: a radical reformer within Judaism, preaching against the formalism and the dedication to ritual and the deep integration with political power which had come to define the world around him, preaching instead that the path to the kingdom of heaven is through feeding the hungry and dedicating yourself to a life of service to others. Then read Paul's letters, watch him trying to apply his life of organization to building a whole new society, trying to express to nascent churches how they can form a community and make it work even as things change. (But read carefully! Some of Paul's letters are actually later forgeries, inserted by others. Ehrman's book is a good summary of where to be careful)

Other references:

Further reading:
The Bible With Sources Revealed: 
The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: A Translation with Commentary
Ehrman on forgery and injection of texts into the Christian works:
http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Christianities-Battles-Scripture-Faiths/dp/0195182499/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377282384&sr=1-7http://www.amazon.com/Misquoting-Jesus-Story-Behind-Changed/dp/0060859512/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377282383&sr=1-1 .

17 May, 2013

I am an idealist

I was told my someone whose opinion I appreciate...
That I am an idealist (is that a bad thing?)

I replied:

If one does not strive for ideals... Then what is there to strive for?
If there is nothing to strive for... Then what is there to live for?
If there is nothing to live for... Then what is left to do?
If there is nothing left to do...

But there is plenty left undone...
I have promised my children... And yours, and the rest...
That I will work to fix the mistakes I have inherited, as well as those I make.

If I neglect my promise, I am less of a person for that failure.
I hope that I am remembered better than that...

I hope that you are too.

13 May, 2013

Out For a Drive.

How to Drive Fast on Drugs
While Getting Your
Wing-Wang Squeezed
Not Spill Your Drink

By P.J. O'Rourke

When it comes to taking chances, some people like to play poker or shoot dice; other people prefer to parachute-jump, go rhino hunting, or climb ice floes, while still others engage in crime or marriage. But I like to get drunk and drive like a fool. Name me, if you can, a better feeling than the one you get when you're half a bottle of Chivas in the bag with a gram of coke up your nose and a teenage lovely pulling off her tube top in the next seat over while you're going a hundred miles an hour down a suburban side street. You'd have to watch the entire Mexican air force crash-land in a liquid petroleum gas storage facility to match this kind of thrill. If you ever have much more fun than that, you'll die of pure sensory overload, I'm here to tell you.

But wait. Let's pause and analyze why this particular matrix of activities is perceived as so highly enjoyable. I mean, aside from the teenage lovely pulling off her tube top in the next seat over. Ignoring that for a moment, let's look at the psychological factors conducive to placing positive emotional values on the sensory end product of experimentally produced excitation of the central nervous system and smacking into a lamppost. Is that any way to have fun? How would your mother feel if she knew you were doing this? She'd cry. She really would. And that's how you know it's fun. Anything that makes your mother cry is fun. Sigmund Freud wrote all about this. It's a well-known fact.

Of course, it's a shame to waste young lives behaving this way – speeding around all tanked up with your feet hooked in the steering wheel while your date crawls around on the floor mats opening zippers with her teeth and pounding on the accelerator with an empty liquor bottle. But it wouldn't be taking a chance if you weren't risking something. And even if it is a shame to waste young lives behaving this way, it is definitely cooler than risking old lives behaving this way. I mean, so what if some fifty-eight-year-old butt-head gets a load on and starts playing Death Race 2000 in the rush-hour traffic jam? What kind of chance is he taking? He's just waiting around to see what kind of cancer he gets anyway. But if young, talented you, with all of life's possibilities at your fingertips, you and the future Cheryl Tiegs there, so fresh, so beautiful – if the two of you stake your handsome heads on a single roll of the dice in life's game of stop-the-semi – now that's taking chances! Which is why old people rarely risk their lives. It's not because they're chicken – they just have too much dignity to play for small stakes.

Now a lot of people say to me, "Hey, P.J., you like to drive fast. Why not join a responsible organization, such as the Sports Car Club of America, and enjoy participation in sports car racing? That way you could drive as fast as you wish while still engaging in a well-regulated spectator sport that is becoming more popular each year." No thanks. In the first place, if you ask me, those guys are a bunch of tweedy old barf mats who like to talk about things like what necktie they wore to Alberto Ascari's funeral. And in the second place, they won't let me drive drunk. They expect me to go out there and smash into things and roll over on the roof and catch fire and burn to death when I'm sober. They must think I'm crazy. That stuff scares me. I have to get completely shit-faced to even think about driving fast. How can you have a lot of exciting thrills when you're so terrified that you wet yourself all the time? That's not fun. It's just not fun to have exciting thrills when you're scared. Take the heroes of the Iliad for instance – they really had some exciting thrills, and were they scared? No. They were drunk. Every chance they could get. And so am I, and I'm not going out there and have a horrible car wreck until somebody brings me a cocktail.

Also, it's important to be drunk because being drunk keeps your body all loose, and that way, if you have an accident or anything, you'll sort of roll with the punches and not get banged up so bad. For example, there was this guy I heard about who was really drunk and was driving through the Adirondacks. He got sideswiped by a bus and went head-on into another car, which knocked him off a bridge, and he plummeted 150 feet into a ravine. I mean, it killed him and everything, but if he hadn't been so drunk and loose, his body probably would have been banged up a lot worse – and you can imagine how much more upset his wife would have been when she went down to the morgue to identify him.

Even more important than being drunk, however, is having the right car. You have to get a car that handles really well. This is extremely important, and there's a lot of debate on this subject – about what kind of car handles best. Some say a front-engined car; some say a rear-engined car. I say a rented car. Nothing handles better than a rented car. You can go faster, turn corners sharper, and put the transmission into reverse while going forward at a higher rate of speed in a rented car than in any other kind. You can also park without looking, and can use the trunk as an ice chest. Another thing about a rented car is that it's an all-terrain vehicle. Mud, snow, water, woods – you can take a rented car anywhere. True, you can't always get it back – but that's not your problem, is it?

Yet there's more to a really good-handling car than just making sure it doesn't belong to you. It has to be big. It's really hard for a girl to get her clothes off inside a small car, and this is one of the most important features of car handling. Also, what kind of drugs does it have in it? Most people like to drive on speed or cocaine with plenty of whiskey mixed in. This gives you the confidence you want and need for plowing through red lights and passing trucks on the right. But don't neglect downs and 'ludes and codeine cough syrup either. It's hard to beat the heavy depressants for high-speed spin-outs, backing into trees, and a general feeling of not giving two fucks about man and his universe.

Overall, though, it's the bigness of the car that counts the most. Because when something bad happens in a really big car – accidentally speeding through the middle of a gang of unruly young people who have been taunting you in a drive-in restaurant, for instance – it happens very far away – way out at the end of your fenders. It's like a civil war in Africa; you know, it doesn't really concern you too much. On the other hand, when something happens in a little bitty car it happens right in your face. You get all involved in it and have to give everything a lot of thought. Driving around in a little bitty car is like being one of those sensitive girls who writes poetry. Life is just too much to bear. You end up staying at home in your bedroom and thinking up sonnets that don't get published till you die, which will be real soon if you keep driving around in little bitty cars like that.

Let's inspect some of the basic maneuvers of drunken driving while you've got crazy girls who are on drugs with you. Look for these signs when picking up crazy girls: pierced ears with five or six earrings in them, unusual shoes, white lipstick, extreme thinness, hair that's less than an inch long, or clothing made of chrome and leather. Stay away from girls who cry a lot or who look like they get pregnant easily or have careers. They may want to do weird stuff in cars, but only in the backseat, and it's really hard to steer from back there. Besides, they'll want to get engaged right away afterwards. But the other kind of girls – there's no telling what they'll do. I used to know this girl who weighed about eighty pounds and dressed in skirts that didn't even cover her underwear, when she wore any. I had this beat-up old Mercedes, and we were off someplace about fifty miles from nowhere on Christmas Eve in a horrible sleetstorm. The road was really a mess, all curves and big ditches, and I was blotto, and the car kept slipping off the pavement and sliding sideways. And just when I'd hit a big patch of glare ice and was frantically spinning the wheel trying to stay out of the oncoming traffic, she said, "I shaved my crotch today – wanna feel?"

That's really true. And then about half an hour later the head gasket blew up, and we had to spend I don't know how long in this dirtball motel although the girl walked all the way to the liquor store through about a mile of slush and got all kinds of wine and did weird stuff with the bottlenecks later. So it was sort of okay, except that the garage where I left the Mercedes burned down and I used the insurance money to buy a motorcycle.

Now, girls who like motorcycles really will do anything. I mean, really, anything you can think of. But it's just not the same. For one thing, it's hard to drink while you're riding a motorcycle – there's no place to set your glass. And cocaine's out of the question. And personally, I find that grass makes me too sensitive. You smoke some grass and the first thing you know you're pulling over to the side of the road and taking a break to dig the gentle beauty of the sky's vast panorama, the slow, luxurious interlay of sun and clouds, the lulling trill of breezes midst leafy tree branches – and what kind of fun is that? Besides, it's tough to "get it on" with a chick (I mean in the biblical sense) and still make all the fast curves unless you let her take the handlebars with her pants off and come on doggy-style or something, which is harder than it sounds; and pantless girls on motorcycles attract the highway patrol, so usually you don't end up doing anything until you're both off the bike, and by then you may be in the hospital. Like I was after this old lady pulled out in front of me in an Oldsmobile, and the girl I was with still wanted to do anything you can think of , but there was a doctor there and he was squirting pHisoHex all over me and combing little bits of gravel out of my face with a wire brush, and I just couldn't get into it. So take it from me and don't get a motorcycle. Get a big car.

Usually, most fast-driving maneuvers that don't require crazy girls call for use of the steering wheel, so be sure your car is equipped with power steering. Without power steering, turning the wheel is a lot like work, and if you wanted work you'd get a job. All steering should be done with the index finger. Then, when you're done doing all the steering that you want to do, just pull your finger out of there and the wheel will come right back to wherever it wants to. It's that simple. Be sure to do an extra lot of steering when going into a driveway or turning sharp corners. And here's another important tip: Always roll the window down before throwing bottles out, and don't try to throw them through the windshield unless the car is parked.

Okay, now say you've been on a six-day drunk and you've just made a bet that you can back up all the way to Cleveland, plus you've got a buddy who's getting a blow job on the trunk lid. Well, let's face it – if that's the way you're going to act, sooner or later you'll have an accident. This much is true. But that doesn't mean that you should sit back and just let accidents happen to you. No, you have to go out and cause them yourself. That way you're in control of the situation.

You know, it's a shame, but a lot of people have the wrong idea about accidents. For one thing, they don't hurt nearly as much as you'd think. That's because you're in shock and can't feel pain, or if you aren't in shock, you're dead, and that doesn't hurt at all so far as we know. Another thing is that they make great stories. I've got this friend – a prominent man in the automotive industry – who flipped his MG TF back in the fifties and slid on his head for a couple hundred yards, and had to spend a year with no eyelids and a steel pin through his cheekbones while his face was being rebuilt. Sure, it wasn't much fun at the time, but you should hear him tell about it now. What a fabulous tale, especially during dinner. Besides, it's not all smashing glass and spurting blood, you understand. Why, a good sideswipe can be an almost religious experience. The sheet metal doesn't break or crunch or anything – it flexes and gives way as the two vehicles come together with a rushing liquid pulse as if two giant sharks of steel were mating in the perpetual night of the sea primordial. I mean, if you're on enough drugs. Also, sometimes you see a lot of really pretty lights in your head.

One sure way to cause an accident is with your basic "moonshiner's" or "bootlegger's" turn. Whiz down the road at about sixty or seventy, throw the gearshift into neutral, cut the wheel to the left, and hit the emergency brake with one good wallop while holding the brake release out with your left hand. This'll send you spinning around in a perfect 180-degree turn right into a culvert or a fast-moving tractor-trailer rig. (The bootlegger's turn can be done on dry pavement, but it works best on top of loose gravel or small children.) Or, when you've moved around backwards, you can then spin the wheel to the right and keep on going until you've come around a full 360 degrees and are headed back the same way you were going; though it probably would have been easier to have just kept going that way in the first place and not have done anything at all, unless you were with somebody you really wanted to impress – your probation officer, for instance.

An old friend of mine named Joe Schenkman happens to have just written me a letter about another thing you can do to wreck a car. Joe's on a little vacation up in Vermont (and will be until he finds out what the statute of limitations on attempted vehicular homicide is). He was writing to tell me about a fellow he met up there, saying:
... This guy has rolled (deliberately) over thirty cars (and not just by his own account – the townfolks back him up on this story), inheriting only a broken nose (three times) and a slightly black-and-blue shoulder for all this. What you do, see, is you go into a moonshiner's turn, but you get on the brakes and stay on them. Depending on how fast you're going, you roll proportionately; four or five rolls is decent. Going into the spin, you have one hand on the seat and the other firmly on the roof so you're sprung in tight. As you feel the roof give on the first roll, you slip your seat hand under the dash (of the passenger side, as you're thrown hard over in that direction to begin with) and pull yourself under it. And here you simply sit it out, springing yourself tight with your whole body, waiting for the thunder to die. Naturally, it helps to be drunk, and if you have a split second's doubt or hesitation through any of this, you die.
This Schenkman himself is no slouch of a driver, I may say. Unfortunately, his strong suit is driving in New York City, an area that has a great number of unusual special conditions, which we just don't have the time or the space to get into right here (except to note that the good part is how it's real easy to scare old ladies in new Cadillacs and the bad part is that Negroes actually do carry knives, not to mention Puerto Ricans; and everybody else you hit turns out to be a lawyer or married to somebody in the mob). However, Joe is originally from the South, and it was down there that he discovered huffing glue and sniffing industrial solvents and such. These give you a really spectacular hallucinatory type of a high where you think, for instance, that you're driving through an overpass guardrail and landing on a freight-train flatcar and being hauled to Shreveport and loaded into a container ship headed for Liberia with a crew full of homosexual Lebanese, only to come to and find out that it's true. Joe is a commercial artist who enjoys jazz music and horse racing. His favorite color is blue.

There's been a lot of discussion about what kind of music to listen to while staring doom square in the eye and not blinking unless you get some grit under your contacts. Watch out for the fellow who tunes his FM to the classical station. He thinks a little Rimsky-Korsakov makes things more dramatic – like in a foreign movie. That's pussy style. This kind of guy's idea of a fast drive is a seventy-five-mile-an-hour cruise up to the summer cottage after one brandy and soda. The true skidmark artist prefers something cheery and upbeat – "Night on Disco Mountain" or "Boogie Oogie Oogie" or whatever it is that the teenage lovely wants to shake her buns to. Remember her? So what do you care what's on the fucking tape deck? The high, hot whine of the engine, the throaty pitch of the exhaust, the wind in your beer can, the gentle slurping noises from her little bud-red lips – that's all the music your ears need, although side two of the first Velvet Underground album is nice if you absolutely insist. And no short jaunts either. For the maniacal high-speed driver, endurance is everything. Especially if you've used that ever-popular pickup line "Wanna go to Mexico?" Especially if you've used it somewhere like Boston. Besides, teenage girls can go a long, long time without sleep, and believe me, so can the police and their parents. So just keep your foot in it. There's no reason not to. There's no reason not to keep going forever, really. I had this friend who drove a whole shitload of people up from Oaxaca to Cincinnati one time, nonstop. I mean, he stopped for gas but he wouldn't even let anybody get out then. He made them all piss out the windows, and he says that it was worth the entire drive just to see a girl try to piss out the window of a moving car.

Get a fat girlfriend so you'll have plenty of amphetamines and you'll never have to stop at all. The only problem you'll run into is that after you've been driving for two or three days you start to see things in the road – great big scaly things twenty feet high with nine legs. But there are very few great big scaly things with nine legs in America anymore, so you can just drive right through them because they probably aren't really there, and if they are really there you'll be doing the country a favor by running them over.

Yes, but where does it all end? Where does a crazy life like this lead? To death, you say. Look at all the people who've died in car wrecks: Albert Camus, Jayne Mansfield, Jackson Pollock, Tom Paine. Well, Tom Paine didn't really die in a car wreck, but he probably would have if he'd lived a little later. He was that kind of guy. Anyway, death is always the first thing that leaps into everybody's mind – sudden violent death at an early age. If only it were that simple. God, we could all go out in a blaze of flaming aluminum alloys formulated specially for the Porsche factory race effort like James Dean did! No ulcers, no hemorrhoids, no bulging waistlines, soft dicks, or false teeth... bash!! kaboom!! Watch this space for paperback reprint rights, auction, and movie option sale! But that's not the way it goes. No. What actually happens is you fall for that teenage lovely in the next seat over, fall for her like a ton of condoms, and before you know it you're married and have teenage lovelies of your own – getting felt up in a Pontiac Trans Ams this very minute, no doubt – plus a six-figure mortgage, a liver the size of the Bronx, and a Country Squire that's never seen the sweet side of sixty.

It's hard to face the truth, but I suppose you yourself realize that if you'd had just a little more courage, just a little more strength of character, you could have been dead by now. No such luck.

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22 April, 2013

Fear Mongers

That process invented by the media and our government and latched onto by its audience, where the glorified defects are being portrayed ad nauseum are (seemingly by default) regarded as the norm.

From there, the fear mongering leads the gullible masses around like a lobotomized dog on a short leash... To sleep in their own piss, eat whatever they are fed and fear the larger the larger than life defects they have been told to be scared of

Basing a standard upon a defect is unhealthy.