Konformist Book Club: 12-24-12
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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.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Joan d'Arc, co-founder in 1992 of Paranoia Magazine and editor of HunterGatheress Journal, now Chief Resident of the Paranoid Women Institute, compiles her best writings and interviews in this collection. A new race of disembodied cyborgs is being engineered to travel into deep space. The night Wilhelm Reich s Cloudbuster became a Spacegun. Proof that the U.S. knew Japan was going to bomb Pearl Harbor and let it happen. A new mafia-connected JFK witness steps forward. Giordano Bruno, the first Catholic priest Ufologist from the 16th Century, burned at the stake for his universalist ideas. Evidence of Robot Probes in our own solar system and what that means to humanity. Beings in NothingDrive: An Existential Analysis of the Travis Walton UFO Abduction. A chronology of anomalous radio signals: Have messages from space been misconstrued or covered up? Why alternatives to Darwinian Evolution should be taught in public schools. This cutting-edge 356-page book contains 13 articles and 12 interviews. Interviewees include: Joan Mellen on the Cast of Characters in the JFK assassination; Michael Cremo on how museums and textbooks hide evidence of extreme human antiquity; Barbara Walker on how God demoted Goddess and replaced the Womb with the "Word"; David Ray Griffin on 9/11 and Osama bin Laden; Jarrah White and Ralph Rene on the Apollo Moon Hoax; Stephanie Caruana on the Gemstone File JFK Thesis; Acharya S. on the mythological attributes Jesus shares with other solar gods; Craig Heimbichner on Freemasonry and Aleister Crowley's OTO; Beth Goobie on surviving a Canadian MKULTRA cult from birth; Spy Robert Eringer on how he brought in Ira Einhorn for the murder of Holly Maddux; Mike Bara on evidence of remains of ancient cities on the Moon.
Perfect Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Sisyphus Press; first edition (October 1, 2012)
Book Review: Medical Growing - A Garden of Peace
Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Culture, Growing, Products
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
My friend Daniel Boughen has a green thumb, and he comes by it naturally. With a family history of organic horticulture, this British Columbia resident had a solid foundation when he began growing cannabis, the world's most medicinal plant.
Medical Growing: A Garden of Peace begins by ably pointing out the evil folly of the tragic War On Drugs, contrasting that with the numerous social, medicinal and economic benefits of cannabis and industrial hemp. Boughen shows a keen consciousness of the forces currently impacting the marijuana community, including the impending danger of corporate control.
In what I personally believe to be one of the most crucially important sections of the book, Boughen contrasts the corporate model of legalization with a more community-centered model. Daniel spares no words in condemning those who would make marijuana just another tool for big corporate profits.
"Monopolistic models for the corporatization of cannabis are now being presented by lobby groups who want to cash in on cannabis in order to sustain the inflated profits of Big Pharma," Boughen writes.
Recently instituted legalization models which place control in the hands of the state, and don't allow home growing, aren't good for cannabis genetics, we learn in Medical Growing.
"To preserve the biodiversity of the species, our access to specific strains grown for taste or symptoms, the people must remain the custodians of cannabis, and keep it in the public domain," Boughen writes. "Recent efforts to patent strains should be resisted; it's just another attempt by corporations to rob us of our natural rights."
Cannabis, Culture and Creativity
The important role of marijuana in culture isn't neglected, either.
"All of the arts have benefitted from the use of cannabis," Boughen writes. "It doesn't cause aggressive behavior or possess toxic properties of other substances, and cannabis is without the addictive profiles characterized by drugs such as tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamines or prescription opiates.
"Cannabis stimulates thought, creativity, and peaceful cooperation, and many of the other qualities we find aesthetically desirable in human kind, and yet with cannabis prohibition, those are not being stimulated in our society," Boughen points out. "When we prohibit cannabis, we also prohibit our culture's artistic and creative growth."
Grow Your Own
Daniel goes on to clearly outline a step-by-step manual for the growing, harvesting, curing and storage of cannabis, as well as provide recipes for preparing medicinal oils and other concentrates and extracts. Neither novice growers nor experienced veterans will feel left out, as the books techniques and tips cover a broad range of skill levels.
Boughen's clear, easy-reading style lets you know what to expect when growing cannabis, and what to do at each stage of growing and processing. He doesn't hide behind technical language; Medical Growing is written in everyday words, and the instructions call for everyday, low-cost materials found in most any home.
Daniel is a devotee of the "12-1" method of growing cannabis, and thus not a fan of the 18-6 vegetative grow cycle favored by many mainstream cultivators. However, even if you disagree with Boughen's assertion that 18-6 lighting cycles constitute "abusing" the plants, it's worth reading his arguments to broaden your perspective.
If you're confused about exactly what constitutes the 12-1 lighting cycle, see page 29 of Medical Growing for a clear explanation. Short version, instead of just a light and a dark cycle like 18-6, 12-1 involves 12 hours with the lights on; 5.5 hours lights off; 1 hour on; and 5.5 hours off, cycled over a 24-hour period.
Cannabutter and Baking
Since cannabis resins are easily extracted using butter to capture the oils, cannabutter (marijuana-infused butter) has become a popular option for those who use the herb medicinally. Medical Growing has a "Butter and Baking" section with instructions on how to make cannabis butter, and how to include it in recipes for cannabinated treats.
You can also learn how to make your own concentrates, including making hashish and making and dosing medicinal cannabis oils from leaf and trim (of which, using Boughen's techniques, you should soon have a nice supply).
At $19.95 in the United States and $21.95 in Canada, Medical Growing: A Garden of Peace is a great choice either for yourself of for that experienced or aspiring cannabis farmer on your list.
For more information on ordering, visit www.agardenofpeace.com.
Get Your Pitchfork On!
The Real Dirt on Country Living
(Process Self-reliance Series)
Print List Price: $19.95
Kindle Price: $9.99 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: $9.96 (50%)
Length: 346 pages
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
For hard-working office workers Kristy Athens and husband Michael, farming was a romantic dream. After purchasing farm land in Oregon's beautiful Columbia Gorge, Athens and hubby were surprised to learn that the realities of farming were challenging and unexpected. Get Your Pitchfork On! provides the hard-learned nuts-and-bolts of rural living from city folk who were initially out of their depth. Practical and often hilarious, Get Your Pitchfork On! reads like a twenty-first century Egg and I.
Get Your Pitchfork On! gives urban professionals the practical tools they need to realize their dream, with basics of home, farm, and hearth. It also enters territory that other books avoidstraightforward advice about the social aspects of country living, from health care to schools to small-town politics.
Kristy Athens doesn't shy away from controversial subjects, such as having guns and hiring undocumented migrant workers. An important difference between Get Your Pitchfork On! and other farm/country books is that the author's initial country experiment failed. Ravaged by the elements, the economy, and the social structure of their rural area, Athens and husband sold their farm and retreated to Portland, Oregon, in 2009. This gave Athens the freedom to write honestly about her extraordinary experience.
Having learned from mistakes, both Kristy and her husband are currently saving up to buy another farm, and this time to live a practical dream rather than an uninformed nightmare.
"An entertaining and practical handbook that should be mandatory reading for urban dwellers considering a move to the country." - Rustik Magazine
"A nice change from the standard how to, this book may be more of a how not to, but proves equally effective." - Indie Reader
"Kristy Athens' observations hold plenty of joys and warnings for urbanites wanting to chuck it all or for those bluesy for the bucolic." - Publisher's Weekly
Kristy Athens and her husband Michael always had visions to get out of the city and get farming. And farm they did on the Washington side of the Columbia gorge. "Get Your Pitchfork On!" is both an amusing how-to from Kristy and hubby's hard-earned personal experiences.
Kristy Athens' nonfiction and short fiction have been published in a number of magazines, newspapers and literary journals, most recently High Desert Journal, Barely South Review and the anthology Mamas and Papas. In 2010, she was a writer-in-residence for the Eastern Oregon Writer-in-Residence program and Soapstone. Kristy has served on the boards of the Hood River County Cultural Trust, Independent Publishing Resource Center, and Northwest Writers. She has been a guest blogger for New Oregon Arts & Letters; editor of Columbia Gorge Magazine; and coordinator of the Columbia Center for the Arts Plein Air Writing Exhibition, and of Literary Arts' Oregon Book Awards and Oregon Literary Fellowships programs.
This is Kristy's first book.
In Search Of... The Complete Series
List Price: $149.99
You Save: $45.00 (30%)
Actors: Leonard Nimoy, Rod Serling, Mitch Pileggi
Directors: Leonard Nimoy
Format: Box set, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Number of discs: 21
Studio: Visual Entertainment Inc.
DVD Release Date: December 11, 2012
Run Time: 3612 minutes
Leonard Nimoy, hosts and narrates this documentary series that takes you to the world of Unsolved Mysteries and those strange and unusual things in the world that defy explanation and often understanding. The world is filled with unexplained mysteries, paranormal phenomena, strange creatures, and other things that go bump in the night. The topics are entertaining and engrossing. Lost civilizations, extraterrestrials, myths and monsters, missing persons, magic and witchcraft, unexplained phenomena. ''In Search Of...'' cameras travel the world, seeking out these great mysteries. This program was the result the work of scientists, researchers and a group of highly-skilled technicians and results in a series of programs that are varied and each is worth viewing.
How Christopher Hitchens proved that nothing is sacred
The late author's now-classic "The Missionary Position," a takedown of Mother Teresa, resonates even louder today
FRIDAY, DEC 14, 2012
Amazon URL Audible Audio Edition:
In the foreword to "The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice," Christopher Hitchens imagined the question he invited by writing the book: "Who would be so base as to pick on her, a wizened, shriveled old lady, well stricken in years, who has consecrated her entire life to the needy and the destitute?"
The short version of Hitchens's answer: Me.
His longer version: The implied question "Is nothing sacred?" must always be answered "with a stoical `No.'"
This fierce stance was central to Hitchens's work, and now that he has been dead for a year, and Mother Teresa has been dead for 15 years, the reissue of "The Missionary Position" as an audiobook is less an opportunity to revisit the history of their disagreement (his explicit, hers implicit) than it is an opportunity to remember the value of Hitchens's great pugnacious willingness to examine, in cold detail, the things the culture has enshrined, and to "scorn to use the fear of death to coerce and flatter the poor."
A writer as strident as Hitchens benefits from an audiobook narrator as measured and assured as Simon Prebble. A lesser narrator might misguidedly over-perform, perhaps in the hope of matching the writer's intensity. But Prebble is wise enough to let the prose do the performing, and in his restraint, he casts a warm light on Hitchens' sentences, which, for all their accusatory adjectives and sharp edges, are always terribly precise, and occasionally beautiful.
The popular idea of Mother Teresa Hitchens calls it "the whole Mother Teresa cult" begins with "Something Beautiful for God," a 1969 BBC documentary that was converted by Malcolm Muggeridge, in 1971, into a hagiographic book that attempted to establish, among other things, that Mother Teresa, though still alive, had already achieved the miracle that would be the prerequisite for sainthood.
The miracle in question was "a photographic miracle" of "divine light" which brilliantly illuminated BBC cameraman Ken Macmillan's footage of Mother Teresa's dimly lit Home for the Dying, but which Macmillan attributes, instead, to a new and better variety of filmstock recently shipped from Kodak. "It is the first unarguable refutation of a claimed miracle," Hitchens wrote, "to come not merely from another supposed witness to said miracle but from its actual real-time author."
Hitchens also objected to Muggeridge's one-dimensional characterization of Calcutta, Mother Teresa's base of operations, as a hell hole a condescending and locally unpopular judgment, which failed to take into account the vitality of the culture, the work ethic of the people, or the historical conditions that gave rise to the city's crowding and poverty. Even more, he objected to the thing Muggeridge admired most: The idea that what Calcutta suffered from most wasn't material lack or physical need, but rather "being too distant from Jesus."
This is the attitude that Hitchens saw as the central trouble with Mother Teresa. Although her emphasis was upon "the poorest of the poor and the lowest of the low," her solution was never to lift anyone out of poverty or lowness, much less to engage in a dialogue of change with the systems that perpetuated poverty and lowness. Since Jesus said, "The poor you always have with you," then, in Hitchens's estimation, there becomes no particular hurry to ease the general condition of poverty, and the poor become objects "used to illustrate morality tales," to advance political causes such as the outlawing of contraception, and to proselytize.
Hitchens offered disturbing examples. When Dr. Robin Fox, editor of the leading medical journal The Lancet, visited Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying operation in Calcutta, in 1994, he found that systematic approaches to diagnosing and caring for ill patients were frowned upon, because Mother Teresa preferred "providence to planning," with one consequence being that patients were frequently misdiagnosed and given the wrong medicines. ("Investigations," as the attending sisters told him, "are seldom permissible.") Worse, he found a disturbing lack of the strong analgesics that are often required to manage the pain of the dying. The lack of good analgesia, Fox said, "marks Mother Teresa's approach as clearly separate from the hospice movement. I know which I prefer."
Other medical witnesses at Mother Teresa's facilities spoke of inadequate beds, a lack of proper medical equipment, hypodermic needles reused without being sterilized, patients the sisters refused to transport to the hospital for relatively inexpensive antibiotics or operations, and all of it out of a logic of lack or resignation. One sister said, "If they do it for one, they do it for everybody." Another, dismissing the unsterilized needles, said, "There's no point. There's no time."
Hitchens's response is worth quoting at length. "Bear in mind," he wrote, "that Mother Teresa's global income is more than enough to outfit several first-class clinics in Bengal. The decision not to do so, and indeed to run instead a haphazard and cranky institution which would expose itself to litigation and protest were it run by any branch of the medical profession, is a deliberate one. The point is not the honest relief of suffering but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjugation."
Much of the rest of "The Missionary Position" is interested in this tension between Mother Teresa's resources and her organization's unwillingness to deploy them in these basic and humane directions in the care facilities for which she had the final say. Particularly galling to Hitchens and to the listener is the contrast between a standard of care for the poor that a generous observer might have said bordered on neglect, and the extraordinary public affections, by contrast, that Mother Teresa lavished on wealthy patrons including the Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and the S&L looter Charles Keating, or the silence she granted as tacit grace to the Dergue junta in Ethiopia which used starvation as a weapon against the people of Eritrea, or to the local oligarchy in Guatemala which had its hand in the slaughter of Guatemalan Indians.
If all this seems like a harsh piling-on, it is. If it seems like old news, by now it also is. But history is always in conversation with the present, and courteous silence about the trouble of the past is a reliable ally of whatever trouble the present is cooking up for the future.
On these grounds, Hitchens couldn't be any more timely. At the end of "The Missionary Position," he proclaims: "It is past time that [Mother Teresa] was subjected to the rational critique that she has evaded so arrogantly and for so long." The listener, having been convinced by the rigor of Hitchens's evidence-gathering and the intelligent moral rightness of his argument, now might ask: What other sacrednesses in our culture conspire "to use the fear of death to coerce and flatter the poor?"
And then: Who now will be brave enough to defy the tyranny of niceness, and gather the crucial evidence, and offer it without apology?
Kyle Minor is the author of "In the Devil's Territory," a collection of stories and novellas, and the winner of the 2012 Iowa Review Prize for Short Fiction. His work has appeared in The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Best American Mystery Stories 2008, "Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers" and "Forty Stories: New Voices from Harper Perennial." He lives in Ohio.
Anarchy Comics: The Complete Collection
List Price: $20.00
You Save: $6.55 (33%)
Kindle Edition $7.99
Reviving an iconic comic series originally published from 1978 to 1986, this exclusive collection brings together the legendary four issues of Anarchy Comics, the underground comic that melded anarchist politics with a punk sensibility, producing a riveting mix of satire, revolt, and artistic experimentation. The anthology features previously unpublished work by Jay Kinney and Sharon Rudahl, along with a detailed introduction by Kinney that traces the history of the comic he founded and provides entertaining anecdotes about the process of herding an international crowd of anarchistic writers. Reintroducing the long-out-of-print underground comic that inspired its readers and united a subculture, this collection includes all 30 original contributors from across the globe, including Clifford Harper, Donald Rooum, Gary Panter, Melinda Gebbie, and Steve Stiles, among other talented writers and illustrators.
"Somewhere between Creation and the Rapturefrom Detroit to Tienanmen Square, from the Breatharyan Liberation Front to a Libyan Terrorist on a Suicide Missiona subversive gang of unabashed underground artists managed to produce four prophetic issues of Anarchy Comics over an entire decade, thus providing reborn proof that Quality trumps Quantity in this book (still reeking with relevant irreverence) that you now hold in your grungy hands. Only the technology has changed. But do not try to read such a rare treasure from the political wing of the international counterculture in one sitting or you will be captured by the invisible top guns of the Tea Party. You have been issued a fat-free friendly warning."
Paul Krassner, author, Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut
"Anarchy Comics, revisited here, with an ardent introduction by its principal editor, Jay Kinney, was a wonder of the underground comics world. Perhaps it might be better described as a wonder of the fading comics world, because times had grown difficult for the genre and Kinney was pulling out the stops to show off what was really funny and insightful in the genre at large, extending them into another era. Anarchy belongs to the last third of the twentieth century, and yet has lost none of its power for today's troubled world. Go to the original, readerlook and learn!"
Paul Buhle, founder, Radical America and Cultural Correspondence
"In the late '70s and early '80s we briefly had a comic voice that told our history (IWW, Spanish Civil War, Kronstadt), illustrated our culture (Brecht, communes, Yippies), and skewered our nemeses (Lenin, Mao, Trotsky), all with a large but necessary dose of self-deprecating humor. That was Anarchy Comics, and finally we can read it again!"
Josh MacPhee, founder, www.justseeds.org
"Anarchy Comics was an education I never got in school. I learned more deep truths about the way human megatribes operate (while at the same time being greatly amused by the superb art and writing) than from any textbook. Decades later, the insights I gleaned from these brilliant comics still affect the way I view global events."
Mark Frauenfelder, founder, boingboing.net
"Thrill to this recently disinterred archeological fragment from a lost civilization about to be reinvented. Anarchy Comics is a dream come true."
Mark Rudd, author, Underground
Jay Kinney was an active participant in the underground comix movement from 1968 through the 1970she cofounded the romance comic satire Young Lust, founded and edited Anarchy Comics, and contributed to numerous other comics. He served as editor of CoEvolution Quarterly before founding Gnosis. He is the author of Hidden Wisdom, The Inner West, and The Masonic Myth, and recently contributed a chapter on underground comics to Ten Years that Shook the City: San Francisco 19681978. He lives in San Francisco.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: PM Press (November 26, 2012)