Happiness: The Chinese zombie ships of West Africa
Greenpeace describes half-abandoned "pirate fishing" boats. Pirate fishing is their name for "illegal, unreported and unregulated" fishing, which sounds like something no one other than Greenpeace could get worked up over. But picture rusting ships, no lifeboats or safety equipment, broken down, leaking junk into ocean, fishing for any kind of product that's valuable no matter whether it's endangered or whether a certain area is overfished or polluted for that matter. Then picture the desperate crew who would get roped into that kind of lousy job, and imagine how concerned the boat owners are going to be for health or safety or human rights of their crew.

Worse than all that, they leave crew members on "zombie ships" -- which is another catchy name for anchoring a ship far offshore while the captain tries to gather a new crew or supplies or maybe capital. Some of these guys claim they haven't set foot on land for two years. If the ship docks too often, the mistreated crew can escape, or port authorities can enforce regulations. They unload their catch and even refuel at sea, all the better to avoid inspections and laws.

"Here's the thing - these ships seldom, or ever, visit a port. They're re-supplied, refuelled, re-crewed and transhipped (unloaded) at sea. The owners and crews don't seem to do any basic maintenance, apart from keeping the engine and winches running. There's no glass in the portholes, and the masts are a mess of useless wiring. These floating deathtraps don't carry any proper safety gear - on one boat, I saw the half-barrel case of an inflatable liferaft being used to store a net."


Don't protest war with just any poster. Make sure you get the original Another Mother for Peace brand protest poster. Please see that you don't sully their official saying or logo in your unofficial peace protests, because "'War is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things and sunflower design' is a registered trademark and copyright 1968, 2003 of Another Mother for Peace, Inc. All rights reserved."
A local political zine called Mutiny & Lonesome Blues printed my story "The Wire Tetragrammaton." Their website is under construction, but you can download the zine as a pdf file. Backlash in the birthplace of the Republican Party!!


Why We Let an Atheist Join Our Church: The Teachings of Christ are Spiritual and Political by Jim Rigby.
For all the trash talking I do about religion, this article expresses a little of what I felt as a faithless person at a protest/vigil organized by "Jackson Interfaith Peacekeepers". We don't have to all agree about God in order to show our community how we feel about the war.
Dungeons & Dayjobs News

A comic shop owner called. He said he had sold the two copies on consignment and asked if I could bring three more copies. When I brought them in, he paid for the two that had been sold plus the three new ones, which means he wasn't worried about doing it on consignment, which means he was confident they would sell.

In other news, I got a few "column inches" in the Jackson Citizen-Patriot, along with a local children's book author. It was the 19 March 2006 issue, page F7. Look out NYT Book Review! Here I come!


Statue of Britney Spears, the universal mother (not safe for work!). Titled "Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston" with Brit straddling a bearskin rug. Looks like the quasi-exploitive statue from My Life As A Dog. Based on the text description on their website, the statue supposedly "depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean’s head." We'll have to wait for photos of that view, though. Give it a few days.
Kirk Cameron explains how to "witness" to homosexuals in San Francisco and West Hollywood, showing how to share "the" way of salvation "without causing undue offense." You'll love the Aussie accent of Kirk's co-host, as lines of scripture scroll across a backdrop of the Golden Gate. "We're not homophobic; we're sin-ophobic!" If nothing else, it's nice to hear them condemning the Fred Phelps "god hates fags" school of thought. Apparently there's also an episode in which Kirk "witnesses" to gang members!
Spam poetry
(not mine, found in a spam email)

have a weal cutlet I assented to this proposal in default of being able
street of Chatham and I caught a glimpse in passing of the lane where the old
fell like a stain upon the quiet place where I had worked and played as a boy and did it a cruel wrong
be seen and done by that difluoride animal and the wonderful effects he could
my breast so freshly and spontaneously that I went up to him at once

fellow cant live there he cant live there And if he cant live there hell die there
very busy pouring out of a number of those vessels into one like a chemist and druggist
I grasped him by both hands and could not let them go But for very shame and thehas increased upon him since I first came here He is often very nervous or I fancy so It is not fancy We went to the mansion concert at bailey cheeky then
chambermaid introduced me to my small bedchamber which smelt like a hackney coach
and I saw tears in them Tell me what it is she said in a low voice I think shall I be quite plain
but he wasnt My honeywell erich it was his spirit not his constitution that he vent
and dreamed of ancient hypnosis Gutierrez and friendship bois

with a fast beating heart and said Chambers wont you speak to me
himself to looking watchfully at her for her suggestions and rattling his money be wanted on some business By Uriah said Elnora Yes and the sense of being unfit for
Not now mama she pleaded in a low tone My rhesus you absolutely are on some subject
and now came forward deferentially Where have you Mr Ziegler said Brewer
landmark on the road When I looked down at the trampers whom we passed and saw

not fail to make upon society lured me away So powerful were these bred
I grasped him by both hands and could not let them go But for very shame and the
and a good many kisses and said that as her object
I should think so said the gentleman There aint no sort of orse that I aint bred and
Young gentlemen likes poultry in general have a fowl
the company the smooth stupendous changes of glittering and brilliant scenery
fedora in my boyish mind that I seem according to my present way of
Beg your pardon sir Where does he sleep Whats his number YI mean said Shaw
my backwood Mr Pruitt everything was done for the kindest and best ban
who had a tall white hat on with a narrow flat brim and whose close fitting drab trousers
would be dragged at the heels of any number of wild horses why should I confine myself to four the dalzell I observed him behind a low bouqueten partition which was


Left Leaning Lesson Plans
Children's book author Nancy Matson made a list of lesson plans exploring objectivity, persuasion and propaganda in the news. Lessons include:
NATO's bombing of Kosovo: Humanitarian Action or Unwarranted Aggression?
Spies, Communism, and Bananas: How and Why the CIA overthrew a government that led to 40 years of brutal repression ­ Part Three of the Cold War unit
How Intelligent Adults Came to Use Terms Like 'The Red Menace' -­ Part One of the Cold War unit

They sound a little left-leaning, but I doubt there's anything untrue in them, and they would certainly balance out the other 12-16 years of history classes in which US students would not hear about their government working against democracy in Guatemala or the possibility that we did not bomb Kosovo out of the kindness of our hearts.
[via melsbasketcase]


Brazen Hearts, Fresh, On Sticks
Chapter Three: The Gift of the Sadie
"Aunt Josie made me tell her an embarassing story about my old boyfriend before she agreed to help me. And then she set loose a leopard on me. There's nothing sweeter than spending time with family, if you can survive."
[12 minutes, 15 sec. The link above points to 128kbps, 11.8 Mb mp3 file. Click here to see other file formats and smaller file sizes for downloading or streaming.]


I helped Melinda set up a podcast last night. She describes The Basketcase Show episode 1 thusly: "Call myself a cow. Talk about being moderated on New Pacifica. Slug and Lettuce review of my zine." Plus she talks about arguing with me. Oh well. The link above points to an mp3, 11 minutes long, 5.7 Mb. For other formats, see the page on Internet Archive at

To subscribe to her podcast, poke around on The Basketcase Show website (

I'll try to post a scan to the Slug & Lettuce review of Basketcase zine late tonight, if I can pry Melinda's cold, mean fingers off the computer for a few minutes.


Several years ago I wrote a jokey article on Awkwardly titled RYSABL: How to Feed the World Without Silverware or Lawnmowers. That acronym stands for Relinquish Your Silverware And Bourgeois Lawnmowers. Why do we persist in spending money on non-essentials like silverware and plasticware and lawncare when there are still people hungry in the world? I am fully ready to eat with my fingers for the rest of my life. And if I can stop mowing my lawn to help save money and save mankind, let me think about it a minute... Frick yeah!

Here it comes, they're serious and these days I think they're right to put it this way:

(Found on a list of groups inspired by Food Not Bombs.)


How to maximize your return on investment from the one-serving-only salad bar at Pizza Hut.


Conversion chart puns
We all need to convert something--dollars to pesos, fractions to inches, calories to belt size. Here's a list of those hard-to-find conversions you have been searching for…

1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi
2. 2,000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton
3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope
4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1 bananosecond
5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram
6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong
7. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling
8. Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon
9. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahertz
10. Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower
11. Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line
12. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
13. 1 million-million microphones = 1 megaphone
14. 1 million bicycles = 2 megacycles
15. 365.25 days = 1 unicycle
16. 2,000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds
17. 52 cards = 1 decacards
18. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 Fig Newton
19. 1,000 milliliters of wet socks = 1 literhosen
20. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
**** [Represent! Fiche industry workers in the hizzOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSE!] **

21. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin
22. 10 rations = 1 decoration
23. 100 rations = 1 C-ration
24. 2 monograms = 1 diagram
25. 4 nickels = 2 paradigms
26. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Cornell University Hospital = 1 IV League
27. 100 Senators = Not 1 decision


Little Anarchist Collective on the Prairie
Okay, it's in Greensboro, North Carolina, no prairie in sight, but interesting to read about a 52 year old woman getting divorced and turning her house into an anarchist collective.


Roger Waters plans a concert in Israel. He launched Writings on the Wall campaign, but apparently no plans to perform songs from The Wall on top of Israel's apartheid wall.
Pull your Tim McGraw and Faith Hill cds out of your collection and fire up the grill for the upcoming record burning, y'all.

"There's no reason why someone can't go down there who's supposed to be the leader of the free world … and say, 'I'm giving you a job to do and I'm not leaving here until it's done. And you're held accountable, and you're held accountable, and you're held accountable." - Tim McGraw

"I fear for our country if we can't handle our people [during] a natural disaster. ... It's just screwed up." - Faith Hill


"I wish I didn't love you so much."
- Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) in Casablanca

"God, I wish I knew how to quit you!"
- Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Brokeback Mountain


Brazen Hearts, Fresh, On SticksBrazen Hearts, Fresh, On Sticks
Chapter Two: Rico Worries About the Dungeon

"If you saw a really thin goblin with a pencil mustache, like John Waters, that was Rico. Like John Waters only younger. And greener."
Josie's cousin Rico preaches to her about the need for sustainable dungeons activism, but eventually he suggests helpful tips on how to win the hobgoblin of her dreams.
[13 minutes, 6.2 Mb mp3 file. The one and only goblin soap opera podcast, by Rob Northrup. Click here to download it.]
1963 - Rolling Stones recorded a Rice Krispies jingle.
Video clip of actual commercial. I suspected this might be some other band trying to sound like the Stones, but a profile on the BBC website confirms they did it.


McDonald's videogame
Play this quick before they get sued out of existence. "Making money in a corporation like McDonald's is not simple at all. Behind every sandwich there is a complex process you must learn to manage: from the creation of pastures to the slaughter, from the restaurant management to the branding. You'll discover all the dirty secrets that made us one of the biggest companies of the world."

Other "Political Videogames Against the Dictatorship of Entertainment" offered by la Molleindustria include Orgasm Simulator, Queer Power, Tuboflex (in which you play a temp worker sucked from one job to another through a vacuum tube) and Tamatipico (as in "tamagotchi" is your virtual flexworker. He works, rests and has fun when you want him to!)
From an essay by Steven Poole in the 20 Feb 2006 New Statesman:
'Perhaps most revealing is the term for the US practice of exporting people for torture by other countries: extraordinary rendition. Suspects were said to have been "rendered", a verb that is also used in the language of industrial meat processing. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency: "Meat rendering plants process animal by-product materials for the production of tallow, grease, and high-protein meat and bonemeal." In these "animal rendering processes", the "raw material" of animals is converted into useful products. Similarly, suspects "rendered" to foreign torturers are anonymous pieces of meat to be converted into useful information by any means necessary. "People are fungible," Donald Rumsfeld once said of his own soldiers. Fungible means replaceable, or convertible into other currencies. The fungibility of a rendered person denies his individuality, denies his presumed innocence, in the service of a dark fantasy of transubstantiation in which the flesh is made word.'

From Part Three of Exterminism and the World in the Wake of Katrina by Stan Goff:
'Alf Hornborg describes imperial privilege as the entitlement to "appropriate space and time," and he describes the imperial-core/exploitable-periphery relation as one where the core imports wealth and orderliness, while it exports disorder, poverty and waste. The white citizens of New Orleans -- and who can blame them -- jumped in their vehicles, gassed up, and headed north away from Katrina's ruthless power. They appropriated space and time, using the universal equivalent of money. Those without the money and the cars... [were] left behind, trapped in space and time to face the social disorder and to wade through the carcinogens, mutagens and embryotoxins.'
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Personally I wasn't sure how to judge the Bush administration's responsibility for Katrina evacuation until I came across this. If this is true, it should make your blood boil. "Cuba evacuated 1.4 million people in advance of Hurricane Dennis, a Cat 4 that hit them in July, and suffered 16 fatalities (the greatest number for any storm since 1963). That's because Cuba not only invests in disaster preparation and strong civil defense, but because there is a social commitment to medical infrastructure, high literacy levels, and government support of community organizers, to mention a few of the reasons.

"We did the free-market evacuation, an unenforceable order for people to leave under their own power -- by private automobile -- after it was too late. Cuba is resource poor. The United States is resource rich. Figure it out."

You don't have to stop hating Castro to ask how a poor nation with central planning was able to save more lives than a rich nation with decentralized and privatized planning. How many different ways does Cuba has to shame the US? They might not win gold medals at the damn Olympics, but they beat the US at reducing infant-mortality rate and they beat us at evacuation procedures. We win spectator sports and they win at saving human lives. Are you ready to change priorities?


Ego Surfing pays off
Like those other things that you occasionally do for yourself, with yourself, to yourself, searching for your own name on the web is sometimes disappointing and pointless and the results are often embarassing. But occasionally a good time is had. Lately I found some nice results by looking for my name and discovering that my dad is mentioned in a book, The Birds of Washtenaw County, Michigan, because he was an avid birdwatcher. I haven't checked it out yet, but I suspect that he is listed with a group of other participants in a bird count or some such thing. He would have liked the idea.

The other payoff was when searching for my handle "Deidzoeb", I ran across someone who read my goofy little role-playing game, My Love For You Is Way Out Of Line. If that game were a car, it would only be firing on a half a cylinder, but at least it's funny to watch the thing trying to wobble down the road. Anyway, here's where the coolness comes in. A guy named Jasper McChesney wrote a short game (10 pages) called Me and the Rat: Love and Deception at Oceanic Research Base A24 (link points to a pdf file). Notes at the end of the game say, 'Credit goes to two games in particular. The Token distribution is ripped off straight from Primetime Adventures by Matt Wilson. The basic inspiration for the small cast of characters, with fixed roles, came from My Love for You is Way Out of Line by "Deidzoeb".'

Isn't that sweet? Allow me to answer that. Yes, that is frickin awesome.