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Editor, The Konformist
Steamshovelpress.com is back! New web content! New book product! New conference information! PLUS: a new, daily, twitterish quip: "Parapolitics Offhand!"
Now available on CD and through US Mail only: Popular Parapolitics, 219 pages, illustrated, of comentary on the nexus of parapolitics and popular culture. $15 post paid from Kenn Thomas, POB 210553, St. Louis, MO 63121.
Some Pelagic Musings
Monday, November 19, 2012
Arriving in Fort Bragg a few days ago, I got to enjoy a much welcome pelagic view after being mountain locked for over eight months. Benignly soporific waves far below cast their foam far up onto the rocks and a lonely gull posed for a few cliff side pics, some gnats flying around its head which didn't seem to perturb it in the least. A guy in a pickup truck scanned the kelp ridden bay with some binoculars and I went over to chat it up with him.
"The herons are eating gophers." He said. "They pick them off on the fly. I watch them wriggle in their throats. Stomach acids finish them off eventually. Fishing isn't as good anymore."
I had heard the same while in Nova Scotia a couple of years ago during a boat tour of some bird islands near Stanley. The weary tour guide pointed out the anorexic seals warming up on the rocks-a hard to ignore reminder of the plight of our depleted oceans and the toll its taking on all living things.
Heading north I pulled into a deserted state park just outside of town and after setting up camp, soon found that the beach is not a good place to traipse with one's head in the clouds. While examining a bit of flotsam that looked like a French tickler, a 'rogue' wave nearly pulled me out to sea in its undertow. Soaked to my waist and my boots filled with salt water, I slushed my way back to the camp site, musing on Fukushima, wondering if the sea flora was some mutant offspring of the disaster.
Awakening around two a.m., I turn on the flashlight and see my shoes floating in a pool of rainwater outside the tent. A cold awakening and a needed ablution for my feet the next morning. . None of the other campsites around me had any standing water. Perhaps something needed to dissolve in me via alchemical solutio.
At dawn, I headed further north and after much serpentine effort, road wise speaking, eventually arrived at Sinkyone Wilderness Area-still looking for some kind of peace. The camp host sat at a park bench reading and I walked over and sat down with her in the semi-sun, sharing an ad libbed synopsis of my blog travelogue and how I had come to arrive at this fairly remote place. She took me to my brook side campsite and after setting up, I walked along the Lost Coast-admiring how plate subduction had contributed to creating such a remarkably beautiful place. Waves below seemed to rebuke my errant thoughts and I found myself standing on the edge of an eroded bit of trail-the drop down to the beach would have been nothing short of fatal if it collapsed. Warnings given to me by the head of the Juneau search and rescue team in Alaska a few years ago came to mind and I promptly backed away.
The next day out on the porch of the visitor's lodge we sat. Rain clouds loomed and I had to be ready to evacuate lest I be stranded for days. Sophia poured over a field guide to sea life, pointing to a pictures of some species of kelp she used to make a salad. I couldn't get the island of plastic debris floating in the Pacific out of my mind. Eventually, the island will become a country once it melts into something more cohesive. Perhaps some protracted lightning storm will fuse it all together, rendering it into some kind of gulag for dissidents around the world. I reach for a geology book inside the lodge and page through it, a more bedrock endeavor IMO considering the surface plight at hand. The rains eventually came while we talked about aborigines and I sped my way back up the treacherous road and back to the highway, passing through a pot town called Garberville.
After more winding roads the next day and the day after, I eventually arrived in Calistoga and soaked in some hot springs. While contemplating my feet in the whirlpool jets, a mish mash of different languages melded with the sounds of the waters. A bald woman with Pierre Cardin sunglasses flaunted her buffed body speaking, with her friends in some eastern bloc language I'm guessing. A woman at a table read, The Servant Class,doing some vicarious salt of the earth living while she flipped through the pages, munching on a cucumber sandwich. I'm reminded of a scene in the Bunuel movie Belle de Jour where one of the idle rich says, "I often think of the working class when it snows."
Lulled by the bubbles, dreaming of netting some hippy heiress, I look up only to see a rather plump woman to my right wearing a tie dyed crepe gown stuffing her face with a salad at one of the tables. I wished I had some flower child lens to see the world through at that moment.
My head swirls a bit and a slender woman soaking in the same springs looks at me with calculated distance. I try to weave the steam into an invitation since there is not a varicose vein on her body. But she looks away, her ready eyes trained on some jet set retribution far beyond the springs.
I pass through Calistoga and feel the presence of the living vine there. Is this some kind of soul recollection or a lost part of me that needs to be reclaimed? Or echoes from the wedding feast at Cana? Only the lord would know, I suppose. Perhaps if I drank some vintage Chablis the region is famous for, it would evoke such a thing, like Proust biting into a Petite Madeleine and the remembrances the dessert inspired in him. Passing vineyard after autumn hued vineyard, it is all blue ruin to me though. Perhaps just a sip? It would have to be the rarest of vintages indeed, some private reserve locked away in a Rotshchild vault. The bottle has my real name written on it, that I can see, with all sorts of intricate filigree etched into the glass which serves to weave the circuitous travails of my life together. I would never cork it open though, but if I did, I'd embrace this place and the people here with my heart, wine holding the key to its full opening. I'd embrace their BMWs and Porsches too. More importantly, I'd look at myself more objectively-opt for Botox injections, get the crow's feet buffed away and my graying hair dyed into something more attractively conducive. Perhaps the wine, even if I spit it out like a professional taster, will impart some healing powers and I'll be able to erase all signs of weathering in the moneyed class that have staked a claim to this region. How liberating would that be? Cosmetic surgeons would be put out of business and have to move elsewhere. Yoga instructors too. As I speed down the highway with such prospects fading, a silk theater curtain woven by Tuscany handmaidens descends to the valley and backstage, they siren call me into a 12th century past, where my troubadour inspirations could stand a better chance, that is if they're not dashed against the rocks of the wine inspired illusions written above.
Now my hands chill in this campsight as I type this out near my backpacker's tent. Dark coming fast as we approach the solstice.
New doc argues that OJ was right
Nicole's killer? He is still out there.
November 18, 2012
Have you ever heard of Glen Rogers?
Probably not because Glen Rogers is one of America's least-known serial killers (70, possibly 80 people). But wait. He is also most likely the real murderer of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
ID's feature-length documentary goes back over Rogers' life and his crimes through interviews with police, prosecutors and with his family most notably his former non-murderous partner-in-crime, brother Clay Rogers, who taught Glen how to steal at an early age.
Not only did Clay cooperate fully in this documentary, but he is the person who turned Glen in when he discovered a rotting corpse in the family's broken down cabin in the woods in Hamilton, Minn.
The corpse was that of an elderly male neighbor, one of the very few men it turned out Glen had killed. At that moment, Clay realized that all those tall tales his brother had telling about killing 50 people were tragically true.
Since killing 50 people isn't the kind of thing most people brag about, you'd have thought his brother would have figured it out, but he didn't.
Then again, the whole family thought Glen was lying when the then-handsome lunatic told his family that he was "partying" with a woman in LA named Nicole Brown Simpson just before she was murdered.
When Rogers phoned his family in 1994, according to the film, he actually said he was working and partying with her and that she was rich, and that he was "going to take her down."
A few years after the murders, when Rogers was already on death row for other murders, he admitted to a criminal profiler that he'd killed Simpson and Goldman.
And there is at least some proof to back him up, including receipts that show Rogers had been working construction in the area at that exact time.
Rogers seemed to know things about the murder that only the killer could have known including a step-by-step description of the exact sequence of the killings which had eluded prosecutors and cops.
And OJ did in fact know the killer, the film says.
So why didn't OJ bring all that out at the trial or even before he was charged?
Because, according to Rogers, OJ had paid him to break into her house and steal a pair of $20,000 earrings the football star had given her.
Rogers claims OJ also told to kill "the bitch" if necessary.
After that murder (hardly his first), Rogers embarked on a cross-country killing spree.
So how does someone become such a psychopath?
Clay Rogers tries to explain it by talking about their horrific childhood with half a dozen siblings.
It was so awful in fact that chances were good that at least one of them would go from petty crime to murder at some point.
But 70 killings?
True or not. frightening, well done and riveting.
Photo of the Day: Class Warfare
Agreement on BCS playoff structure reached
Beginning in 2014, there will be a four-team, seeded college football playoff
Academic performance of teams will be factored into revenue distribution
Television broadcast rights and revenue have yet to be determined
November 12. 2012 - DENVER College football's new playoff system will feature only six marquee bowl games, but will guarantee access to a team from the five non-power conferences, the BCS' presidential oversight committee decided in a brief meeting Monday afternoon.
The presidents also approved the general framework for revenue distribution and gave conference commissioners the go-ahead to secure a TV rights deal.
The smaller conferences known as the "Group of Five" Big East, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West and Sun Belt had pushed for addition of a seventh bowl beginning in 2014, when college football moves to a four-team playoff. The Big 12 and Pac-12 also were in favor of the extra bowl, which would have allowed a second guaranteed slot for those conferences' teams. But with little interest from potential TV partners, commissioners ultimately decided against the idea.
"It was a possibility up until the end," said Big East commissioner Mike Aresco of the seventh bowl. "But this was a better plan for us. It gives us the same guaranteed access for our conference champion. We'll work out the revenue. We'll be fine."
The commissioners were also given approval by the presidential oversight committee to secure a TV rights deal. Current rights-holder ESPN is in an exclusive negotiating window that ends later this week, according to BCS executive director Bill Hancock. Sports Business Journal reported last week the network was close to a deal worth as much as $500 million annually and perhaps as much as $7.3 billion over the life of the 12-year contract. But there was at least some sentiment to test the value with potential bidders like Fox, NBC or Turner.
Navigate Research, a Chicago-based firm that measures the value of marketing and media rights, originally estimated the package might be worth from $400-450 million annually. On the open market, Navigate's director of analytics Jeff Nelson estimated the annual value could reach $550-600 million.
"It's clearly very, very valuable," Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Monday.
The current BCS TV deal pays $180 million a year.
Ten percent of total revenue will be tied to teams' academic performance rates (APR). If a team's APR falls below an undetermined threshold, it would lose that portion of the revenue. Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman said the portion is expected to be designated for academic purposes.
The question of how the revenue will be distributed has apparently been settled, at least in broad terms. Though presidents and commissioners at the Hyatt Regency would not discuss the terms because they hadn't been finalized, CBSSports.com reported Sunday the "Group of Five" would split at least 20 percent of the overall bowl revenue.
"There will be plenty of money for everybody," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. "The bottom line is 'more.' "
Northern Illinois president John Peters, who represented the Mid-American Conference, said the vote on revenue distribution was unanimous.
"We think it's fair," Peters said. "It does recognize that some conferences contribute more in a revenue way. From my point of view for my conference, what it means is more."
Said the Big East's Aresco: "The fairness aspect is definitely there."
More important, according to Peters and Aresco, was the guaranteed access to the six games that will make up college football's upper-tier bowls. Big East senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli tweeted: "It wasn't about a 7th bowl. It was about a guaranteed spot. It is better for everyone if there are 6 bowls. Mission accomplished! "
Counting future members of "Group of Five" conferences, the Big East champion would have qualified in seven of the past nine years.
Meanwhile, the Big 12 and Pac-12 had pushed for the seventh bowl as a way to secure another guaranteed slot for their teams, like the SEC and Big Ten secured in a recent deal with the Orange Bowl. But Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby noted that in 11 of the past 14 years, the Big 12 had two or three teams ranked in the top 12 of the BCS standings. And Scott said: "It's no longer about access. It's about a four-team playoff."
All six bowls will rotate as semifinals for the playoff. The postseason will feature three "contract" bowls meaning games with tie-ins to conference affiliations (Rose, Sugar, Orange) and three "host" bowls games without tie-ins. Those games will be played New Year's Eve and New Year's Day; the championship game will be played a week later, on a Monday night.
The "host" bowls have not been determined. Hancock said bids would go out sometime after the TV deal is secured and would be finalized by spring 2013, but conventional wisdom is the slots will be filled by the Fiesta, Chick-fil-A and Cotton bowls.
Next on the agenda: finalization of a selection committee it probably won't happen until next spring and at some point, a name change:
"Anything," Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman said, "but the Bowl Championship Series!"
Konformist Book Club: Lady in Distress
Top Secret Mission Module TS003
By Mike Carr & Corey Koebernick
Publisher: TSR Hobbies, Inc
Publication Date: 1982
Amazon URL (Used copies only):
While discussing terrorism with Kenn Thomas of SteamshovelPress.com, I mentioned to him I had blueprints to the MS Achille Lauro. He found this fascinating, and I explained in 1982, I bought a module for the Top Secret roleplaying game about a terrorist hijacking of a cruise ship, and the designers had used the Achille Lauro as their model. This was three years before the actual terrorist plot. While Wikipedia claims the ship was "based" of the Achille Lauro blueprints, it's likely the game designers just copied the blueprints completely. KT suspects, with good reason, the module was probably bought and used by the PLO terrorists to study the ship. The blueprints should be in the upcoming book Popular Parapolitics by Kenn.
"Mission aborted! On their way to raid the secret headquarters of a gang of international terrorists, a group of top agents is diverted to an even more critical danger. A luxury liner carrying microbiologist Dr. Miguel Salcedo, and samples of a new and deadly strain of bacteria, has been captured by terrorists. The agents must race against time to neutralise the terrorist, rescue the doctor, and regain the bacteria before it can be released upon he unsuspecting world."
Wikipedia's info on the module:
This module's plot involved agents parasailing to rescue a hijacked cruise ship. Interestingly, the module's ship plans were based on the MS Achille Lauro, which was seized by PLO terrorists in 1985 and resulted in the murder of one passenger.
For Pet Owners Left Homeless by Hurricane, a Temporary Home for the Animals
November 18, 2012
Brendan Scott flicked his fingers though the cage to reassure Raven, his 7-year-old black cat. With his parents standing behind him, Brendan, 15, was trying not to cry.
Two puppies that were displaced from the Rockaways play in their cage.
"He's like a little brother," he said, softly, of Raven. The cat and his orange companion in the next cage, Haley, had been bouncing from home to home as their owners had since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the family's house in Broad Channel, Queens.
On Sunday, Brendan and his parents, Ray and Michelle Scott, were among dozens of people who left their pets behind at another temporary home, a 20,000-square-foot emergency boarding center that opened over the weekend in a vacant warehouse in Ocean Hill, Brooklyn.
Run with affectionate precision by a team of disaster specialists from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the shelter housed 137 animals by Sunday evening and was expected to house a few hundred, if not more, before the week was out. The center can accommodate up to 700 animals, which are permitted to stay for 30 days free of charge, with full veterinary care, until their owners can reclaim them.
"At least I know they're safe, that's what matters," Ray Scott said at the entrance. Brendan added: "I'm going to come every weekend to visit."
As the weeks of anxious uncertainty drag on for the tens of thousands of New Yorkers left homeless by the storm, pet owners have been making heart-wrenching decisions about what to do with their animals.
Jim Buonamano, 73, spent several bitter nights sleeping in his flooded, powerless home in Belle Harbor, Queens, while taking care of April, a 6-year-old white German shepherd, and Bella, a 2-year-old pit bull. He contacted the city's pet hot line after the storm, and two weeks later help arrived.
On Sunday, a man and a woman from Manhattan, who simply showed up in the Rockaways with a station wagon and a desire to volunteer, had been directed to deliver April and Mr. Buonamano to the Brooklyn shelter. Then they all went back for Bella.
"I'd rather she be someplace warm, even if I don't see her for a month," said Mr. Buonamano, who is now staying with a brother. "She could use a bath, since she was in flood water, too."
April's arrival highlighted the effort, involving nonprofit organizations, private shelter operators, celebrity donors, veterinarians and unaffiliated volunteers, to mitigate the suffering of both humans and animals.
"The silver lining of a disaster is that some of these animals have never seen a veterinarian, or it had been a while," said Matt Bershadker, the senior vice president of the A.S.P.C.A.'s anti-cruelty group, which oversees field investigations.
Veterinarians from New York and others from around the country examined every animal brought in. They were aided by animal behaviorists. Taped to the cage of a Rottweiler mix was a warning for handlers: "Very Scared."
Tim Rickey, the A.S.P.C.A.'s senior director of the shelter, said: "They go through much worse than humans because they don't understand it."
After nearly two weeks of negotiations, the warehouse's landlord agreed on a rent of $20,000 a month, A.S.P.C.A. officials said, adding that a $500,000 donation from the celebrity chef Rachael Ray, who also has contributed supplies from her line of pet food, helped defray some costs.
Forty-four cats and dogs were delivered from a Sean Casey Animal Rescue emergency shelter in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, on Sunday, with their transport overseen by the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, an animal welfare charity that is not affiliated with the city.
There were also 48 animals whose owners had yet to be found, brought in from shelters run by Animal Care and Control from around the city. The facilities of that organization, which has a contract with the city to pick up strays, are already overcrowded. The organization has come under criticism in the past because it euthanizes some unwanted animals. No animals affected by Hurricane Sandy were on that list, said Richard Gentles, a spokesman for the organization.
The animals who arrived without owners were to be kept in a quarantined section of the warehouse, because they could have been exposed to disease, Mr. Bershadker said.
The Mayor's Alliance, through its Wheels of Hope program, has spent several days pleading with owners to put their pets in the new A.S.P.C.A. center as they leave evacuation centers.
When the Queens College evacuation center closed over the weekend, an older man staying there with his fuzzy Pomeranian, Buddy, pleaded for his pet not to be sent to the A.S.P.C.A. "He said, `I lost everything in this hurricane,' " Debbie Fierro of the Mayor's Alliance recalled. "'The only thing I have is my dog."
Sharon Hunter, 51, was even more adamant that she stay with her 2-year-old ferret, Trouble.
Ms. Hunter had ridden out the storm with Trouble and her 10-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, on the seventh floor of a New York City Housing Authority building in the Rockaways. With no heat and electricity, she agreed to leave a week later only because she could take the ferret to the Queens College emergency shelter.
After nearly two weeks, Ms. Hunter said, shelter officials enticed her away with a free hotel room in Manhattan, but only on the condition that the ferret went to the shelter in Brooklyn. Ms. Hunter said she resisted, but exhaustion and the need for privacy won out Saturday night. She ended up at the Carlton Hotel, on Madison Avenue.
Trouble was enjoying the semi-privacy of a wood-paneled office on Sunday, keeping company with a parakeet and a rabbit, each in its cage.
A version of this article appeared in print on November 19, 2012, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: For Pet Owners Left Homeless by Hurricane, a Temporary Home for the Animals.