- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Hi, I'm Rupert the Anti-Christ and this here's my website!
And two listen too me annoucne my fourmal inauguration, listen here:
Rupert announces on the Space Brother Radio show his intentions to
run for President of these here United States of America! Also
announced: his running mate!
Thanks for yer support!
And for the website of the kewl artist for this site:
Kenn Thomas & Nick Nolte - Separated at Birth?
"America's Most Beloved Conspiracy Theorist" and "People Magazine's
Sexiest Man Alive"
Weird Las Vegas and Nevada is the new book by Tim Cridland, better
know to many by his stage name Zamora the Torture King.
Weird Las Vegas is the latest in the Weird US series, which started
with Weird New Jersey. Each of the Weird US books covers the
legends, folklore, personalized properties, eccentric people and
events, outlandish rumors and of the different States.
Why was Zamora selected to write Weird Las Vegas? The Las Vegas
weekly newspaper City Life explained it well when they wrote "...the
selection isn't so puzzling. Turns out Zamora's real name is Tim
Cridland, a Las Vegan who, before he decided to make a living by
sticking spikes through his face, used to publish a 'zine devoted to
the weird called Off the Deep End. This venture allowed him to
indulge in his passion for sideshow acts by forming one himself with
the help of friends. His act would eventually evolve into the Jim
Rose Circus, which toured not just Lollapalooza but the world. If
Cridland's name (or pierced profile) seems familiar, it's because
you've seen him on shows like Ripley's TV, Guinness World Records
and 48 Hours. Oh, and he already co-wrote the book Circus of the
Scars, a history of the early years and rise (if you can call it
that) to infamy of the Jim Rose Circus."
Here is what the reviews have said about Weird Las Vegas and Nevada:
"Do not venture into the Silver State without this guidebook..." ---
"This book is a must if you visited or live in Las Vegas... Buy this
book is worth every dollar!!!!!" --- Paul A. Vincent
"This is a great book for anyone's collection on Nevada. The stories
are interesting, well-done, and the quality of the book is superb."
--- Ryan Jerz's blog
"Anyone ... curious about some of the off-the-wall history facts;
plus ghosts, bizarre architecture; unusual places to visit; UFO's
will have a field day with this nicely-priced guidebook to the
Silver State should get a copy of Weird Las Vegas and Nevada.
Beautifully illustrated, easy-indexed and covering everything from
Busy Siegel to Elvis, Area 51, Liberace, thrill rides, strange
museums, roadside oddities and more, it's a "gee-whiz" book with
class and character. It approaches this unique state like no other
--- Howard Schwartz Gambler's Book Club
"...add Weird Las Vegas to your collection of quirky books about Sin
City" --- Las Vegas City Life
You can get a copy signed copy of Weird Las Vegas, direct from the
author, postage paid, for only $20.00, less than it costs at a
store. Plus, you will also get a copy of the article Fear and
Loafing in Las Vegas from the newspaper Los Angeles Alternative
Press. This is a mini-guide to Weird Las Vegas written by Zamora and
is one of the things that lead to the contract to write the book.
Los Angeles Alternative Press is now out of business and the
article can no longer be found on the Internet. I saved a stack of
the issue when it came out, so you will receive the original
article, not a photocopy or rewrite.
To get your copy of Weird Las Vegas, send $20.00, cash check or
money order to:
PO Box 71652
Las Vegas, NV 89170
Make the check or money order out to "Tim Cridland" and state how
you would like your copy signed
Three Little Pigs 'too offensive'
By Sean Coughlan
BBC News, education
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
Three Digital Pigs
A story based on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale has been turned
down by a government agency's awards panel as the subject matter
could offend Muslims.
The digital book, re-telling the classic story, was rejected by
judges who warned that "the use of pigs raises cultural issues".
Becta, the government's educational technology agency, is a leading
partner in the annual Bett Award for schools.
The judges also attacked Three Little Cowboy Builders for offending
The book's creative director, Anne Curtis, said the idea that
including pigs in a story could be interpreted as racism was "like a
slap in the face".
The CD-Rom digital version of the traditional story of the three
little pigs, called Three Little Cowboy Builders, is aimed at
primary school children.
But judges at this year's Bett Award said that they had "concerns
about the Asian community and the use of pigs raises cultural
The Three Little Cowboy Builders has already been a prize winner at
the recent Education Resource Award - but its Newcastle-based
publishers, Shoo-fly, were turned down by the Bett Award panel.
The feedback from the judges explaining why they had rejected the CD-
Rom highlighted that they "could not recommend this product to the
They also warned that the story might "alienate parts of the
workforce (building trade)".
The judges criticised the stereotyping in the story of the
unfortunate pigs: "Is it true that all builders are cowboys,
builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?"
Ms Curtis said that rather than preventing the spread of racism,
such an attitude was likely to inflame ill-feeling. As another
example, she says would that mean that secondary schools could not
teach Animal Farm because it features pigs?
Her company is committed to an ethical approach to business and its
products promote a message of mutual respect, she says - and banning
such traditional stories will "close minds rather than open them".
Becta, the government funded agency responsible for technology in
schools and colleges, says that it is standing by the judges'
"Becta with its partners is responsible for the judging criteria
against which the 70 independent judges, mostly practising teachers,
comment. All the partners stick by the judging criteria," said a
The reason that this product was not shortlisted was because "it
failed to reach the required standard across a number of criteria",
said the spokesman.
Becta runs the awards with the Besa trade association and show
organisers, Emap Education.
Merlin John, author of an educational technology website which
highlighted the story, warns that such rulings can undermine the
credibility of the awards.
"When benchmarks are undermined by pedestrian and pedantic tick
lists, and by inflexible, unhelpful processes, it can tarnish the
achievements of even the most worthy winners.
"It's time for a rethink, and for Becta to listen to the criticisms
that have been ignored for a number of years," said Mr John.
Mystery man's annual visit to Poe grave
By BEN NUCKOLS, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jan 19, 2008
Undeterred by controversy, a mysterious visitor paid his annual
tribute at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe early Saturday, placing
three red roses and a half-filled bottle of cognac before stealing
away into the darkness.
Nearly 150 people had gathered outside the cemetery of Westminster
Presbyterian Church, but the man known as the "Poe toaster" was, as
usual, able to avoid being spotted by the crowd, said Jeff Jerome,
curator of the Poe House and Museum.
The tribute takes place every Jan. 19 the anniversary of Poe's
The visitor did not leave a note, Jerome said, electing not to
respond to questions raised in the past year about the history and
authenticity of the tribute.
Sam Porpora, a former church historian who led the fight to preserve
the cemetery, claimed last summer that he cooked up the idea of the
Poe toaster in the 1970s as a publicity stunt.
"We did it, myself and my tour guides," Porpora, a former
advertising executive, said in August. "It was a promotional idea."
Porpora said someone else has since "become" the Poe toaster.
Jerome disputes Porpora's claims and says the tribute began in 1949
at the latest, pointing to a 1950 article in The (Baltimore) Evening
Sun that mentions "an anonymous citizen who creeps in annually to
place an empty bottle (of excellent label)" against the gravestone.
Jerome invites a handful of Poe enthusiasts to join him inside the
church every year but withholds details of the tribute in an effort
to help the toaster maintain his anonymity. He said the visitor no
longer wears the wide-brimmed hat and scarf he donned in the past.
In 1993, the visitor left a note reading, "The torch will be
passed." A later note said the man, who apparently died in 1998, had
handed the tradition on to his two sons.
This year's visitor was the same man who has come to the grave site
many times in the past, Jerome said.
"We recognize him from his build, the way he walks," he said. "It
would be very easy for us, visually, to see if this were a different
Poe, who wrote poems and horror stories including "The Raven"
and "The Telltale Heart," died Oct. 7, 1849, in Baltimore at the age
of 40 after collapsing in a tavern. Next year will be the 200th
anniversary of his birth.
On the Net:
Poe House and Museum: http://www.eapoe.org/
Silver loses its long-held top spot as the most popular car color.
by Althea Chang
After seven years wearing the color crown, silver has been dethroned.
For the first time this century, more white cars were manufactured
in 2007 than those in any other color, according to DuPont's most
recent color study.
In North America, 19 percent of vehicles manufactured in 2007 were
either white or "pearl white," which is white with an iridescent or
metallic sheen. Eighteen percent of 2007 vehicles were silver, and
16 percent were black, including black with metallic effects.
White has also taken a decisive lead in other countries, including
Japan and Mexico. In Europe, however, black was far and away the top
White had an even stronger showing among luxury cars, where it made
up 22 percent of vehicles manufactured in 2007 (5 percent of those
were pearl white) and tied with the color black. Silver was the next
most common color for luxury cars in 2007, at 20 percent. "Our
report is based on quantities of paint sold to OEMs [original
equipment manufacturers], production data they share with us, and
other sources," says DuPont spokesperson Rick Straitman.
The color white is increasingly dominant, not just in the auto
industry, but in home furnishings, fashion, consumer products, and
industrial design, says Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone
White was the most popular color among Chevrolet and Ford buyers,
according to J.D. Power and Associates' Power Information Network,
which tracks consumers' buying habits. Dodge buyers preferred red,
while BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz buyers gravitated
White is also a popular color for so-called fleet vehicles, which
are cars and trucks used commercially, such as by power companies
and rental agencies, says Global Insight analyst John Wolkonowicz.
Despite white's victory in 2007, silver will still likely be the
dominant color on the roads for some time. "Given silver's
popularity over the past seven years and the fact that it is still a
popular color choice, you should expect to see a high number of
silver vehicles on the road for the coming years," says Karen
Surcina, color marketing and technology manager at DuPont.
Considering that the average vehicle is on the road for 13 years,
according to U.S. Department of Transportation estimates, it could
take a decade or more for silver cars to start thinning out, and
that's only if the color decreases in popularity. "When silver first
came on the scene [in the mid to late 1990s], it was a high-tech
color that corresponded with people's interest in technology and the
future," Surcina says. Then the tech bubble burst and the economy
started to suffer. As time went on, silver became a "safe" color
that consumers could opt for and not worry about it standing out too
much, or turning off potential buyers when it came time to resell
Even if white continues to swell in popularity and sparkling
particles give the color new life, the trends may not be seen on
highways and in driveways for some time. "While palate-cleansing
white is expected to usher in a new era in car colors and iridescent
paints, and sparkling mica particles and unusual effects are gaining
popularity among more adventurous types, most car buyers are still
sticking with safe colors like silver and black," says Christopher
Li, industry analyst at the Power Information Network.
Congo conflict causes 45,000 deaths a month: study
Chris McGreal in Johannesburg
Tuesday January 22, 2008
The effects of a decade of fighting in the Democratic Republic of
Congo is continuing to kill about 45,000 people each month - half of
them small children - in the deadliest conflict since the second
world war, according to a new survey.
The International Rescue Committee said preventable diseases and
starvation aggravated by conflict had claimed 5.4m lives since the
beginning of the second Congo war in 1998, equivalent to the
population of Denmark.
Although the war officially ended in 2002, malaria, diarrhoea,
pneumonia and malnutrition have continued to claim enormous numbers
of lives in part because fighting continues in the east of the
The study of 14,000 households across Congo between January 2006 and
April 2007 found that nearly half of all the deaths were of children
under the age of five, who make up only 19% of the population.
"The majority of deaths have been due to infectious diseases,
malnutrition and neonatal- and pregnancy-related conditions," the
"Increased rates of disease are likely related to the social and
economic disturbances caused by conflict, including disruption of
health services, poor food security, deterioration of infrastructure
and population displacement. Children are particularly susceptible
to these easily preventable and treatable conditions."
Congo has endured two foreign invasions and protracted civil war
since the aftermath of Rwanda's genocide spilled across the border
in 1994 with an influx of more than a million Rwandan Hutu refugees.
The years of conflict resulted in millions of people fleeing their
homes, sometimes to live for years in forests where many died, and
the collapse of what infrastructure still remained after decades of
neglectful rule under Mobutu Sese Seko.
Those who returned home found water sources, health clinics and
farms destroyed. Marauding bands of armed men were responsible for
mass rape, particularly in the east of the country, which made it
much more difficult for women to venture into fields to grow food.
"When war destroys a country's economy and infrastructure, there's
no quick fix," said Dr. Richard Brennan, one of the survey's authors.
"Significant improvement in Congo's health and mortality will
require years of unwavering commitment from the government and the
international community and substantial financial investment. Sadly,
the humanitarian crisis in Congo continues to be overlooked and
funding remains disproportionate to the enormity of need."
The IRC said that a peace deal in the eastern province of North
Kivu, where continued fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands
of people in recent months, is also crucial to curbing the rising
There was hope today that the conflict in the east might finally be
drawing to a close after the government and armed groups were
reported to be ready to sign a peace agreement. But the deal
apparently did not directly address how to deal with two of the most
important armed factions - that of the rebel Tutsi general, Laurent
Nkunda, who is wanted for war crimes, and the Rwandan Hutu group
that has been a leading cause of instability.
Congo is one of 11 countries where 20% of children die before the
age of five according to a Unicef report released today. A child
born in Sierra Leone has the lowest chance of surviving until the
age of five. The report, the State of the World's Children, says
nearly 9.7 million children under five died worldwide last year from
disease or lack of food.
In Sierra Leone, which is still recovering from an 11-year civil
war, the child mortality rate was 270 deaths per 1,000 births. The
average rate in developed countries is six deaths per 1,000 births.
Twenty-eight of the 30 countries with the highest child mortality
rates are in sub-Saharan Africa. But Unicef said there have also
been successes on the continent. Mozambique has seen a 41% drop in
child mortality since 1990.
San Francisco, CA
Jul 26th, 2007
The Roots of a Counter-Culture with panelists, David E. Smith,
Executive Medical Director, Prometa Center for Addiction; Founder,
Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, Wavy Gravy, Activist; Clown; Former
Frozen Dessert, Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Author; Radio Commentator; Paul
Krassner, Writer, Founder, The Realist Magazine, moderated by Peter
Finch,Co-host, KFOG Morning Show.
In the summer of 1967, youths from all over the country converged on
San Francisco and laid the foundation for a socio-political legacy.
Forty years later, decisions made during the Summer of Love continue
to have an impact on our national politics and our lives. Join in a
discussion with panelists who witnessed the revelry and the
repercussions of a summer that shaped not only a generation, but a
way of life. - Commonwealth Club of California
Venezuela, Allies to Start New Bank
By IAN JAMES
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and three
of his closest allies are teaming up to create a regional
development bank intended to strengthen their alliance and promote
independence from U.S.-backed lenders like the World Bank.
The bank is to be launched Saturday as Chavez hosts a summit with
leaders from Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba members of the Bolivarian
Alternative for the Americas, or ALBA.
The left-leaning regional trade alliance is intended to offer an
alternative, socialist path to integration while snubbing U.S.-
backed free-trade deals.
The ALBA Bank will be started with $1 billion to $1.5 billion of
capital, Venezuelan Finance Minister Rafael Isea said Friday,
according to the state-run Bolivarian News Agency.
Venezuela, with its plentiful oil earnings, is expected to be the
leading financier. The funds will go toward social programs and
other joint efforts, from farming projects to oil ventures.
Chavez and the leaders of six other South American countries last
month launched a similar venture, the Bank of the South, which is
projected to have as much as $7 billion in startup capital and offer
loans with fewer strings attached than those given by the World Bank
or the International Monetary Fund.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said he believes the ALBA Bank
will bring "mutual benefits." For instance, he said, Nicaragua's
farm projects could "start supplying Venezuela with milk, with
beef" which could help Chavez's government stem recent shortages
of such products.
The two governments Friday signed a series of accords, including one
for "food security" under which Nicaragua pledged to help supply
milk, corn, beans and beef to Venezuela.
"I want to thank Daniel and all of Nicaragua," Chavez said. "We
still have to depend on a lot of imported foods."
In turn, Chavez's government is selling oil under preferential terms
to Nicaragua and has sent the country fertilizers, tractors and
Chavez: Pull reserves from US
By IAN JAMES, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jan 26, 2008
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged his Latin American allies on
Saturday to begin withdrawing billions of dollars in international
reserves from U.S. banks, warning of a looming U.S. economic crisis.
Chavez made the suggestion as he hosted a summit aimed at boosting
Latin American integration and rolling back U.S. influence.
"We should start to bring our reserves here," Chavez said. "Why does
that money have to be in the north? ... You can't put all your eggs
in one basket."
To help pool resources within the region, Chavez and other leaders
launched a new development bank at the summit of the Bolivarian
Alternative for the Nations of Our America, or ALBA.
The left-leaning regional trade alliance first proposed by Chavez is
intended to offer an alternative, socialist path to integration
while snubbing U.S.-backed free-trade deals.
Chavez noted that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited
Colombia in recent days, saying "that has to do with this summit."
"The empire doesn't accept alternatives," Chavez told the gathering,
attended by the presidents of Bolivia and Nicaragua and Cuban Vice
President Carlos Lage.
Chavez warned that U.S. "imperialism is entering into a crisis that
can affect all of us" and said Latin America "will save itself
Rice left Colombia on Friday after a trip aimed at reviving a free
trade deal that has stalled in the U.S. Congress. She sidestepped an
opportunity to confront Chavez, who accused Colombia and the United
States of plotting "military aggression" against Venezuela.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega joined Chavez in his criticism of
U.S.-style capitalism, saying "the dictatorship of global
capitalism ... has lost control." Three days earlier, Ortega had
shouted "Long live the U.S. government" as he inaugurated an
American-financed section of highway in his country.
The ALBA Bank is "being born with the aim of boosting development in
our countries," Venezuelan Finance Minister Rafael Isea said
Saturday as he and other officials gathered at the bank's Caracas
office for an inaugural ceremony.
Isea has said the bank will be started with $1 billion to $1.5
Chavez welcomed the Caribbean island of Dominica into the ALBA an
acronym that means "dawn" in Spanish joining Nicaragua, Bolivia
and Cuba. Attending as observers were the prime ministers of Antigua
and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, along with officials
from Ecuador, Honduras, Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Chavez said a new fund created by Venezuela and Iran to support
projects in third countries would have links to the ALBA Bank.