Archive for May, 2005

All Work And No Play . . .

May 30, 2005

Over the weekend I had been worrying about the campaigns for promoting wonder, humour and wackiness in Hogtown . . . it was frustrating me that it had been put off, but it was also frustrating me that I didn’t feel I was planning enough . . . people’s ‘roles’ seemed vague for the most part, there seemed to still be confusion as to what order everything was going to happen, or whether a run-through was going to be possible . . . I was beginning to wonder if it would happen at all, and if it did, whether it would be a disaster.

As I lounged pondering these thoughts, a large shiny cockroach tittered (is tittered a word?) tittered across the top of the table toward me, and stopped. It’s antennae swayed in the nonexistent breeze as it studied me, and I, in return, studied it.

A resonating basso profundo voice was suddenly filling the space between my ears. I AM GULIK the voice said . . . I COME TO YOU WITH A MESSAGE FROM THE GODDESS.

“Oh?” I asked, sitting up a little straighter, which is difficult, when lounging in a beanbag chair. “And, what, pray, is the message?” I asked.

The roach tittered (I’m going with it, so there) closer to me, and cocked its head as pretty much only cockroaches in the insect world can do, and said, “STOP BEING SUCH A FUCKING GREYFACE!” and then scampered off the same way it had come.

I considered finding a shoe to stomp it with before it ran into a crack in the wall, out of run-of-the-mill human irritation, but realized that the insect was, in fact, correct – I was being a greyface. I had got so caught up in the planning of the campaign for wonder and fun that I had forgotten that it was intended to inspire wonder and fun for us, too. Why force something like this into work? Isn’t there enough work in the world already? Couldn’t there be more play?

In that mindset I have decided not to worry about it anymore. We are Discordians, after all, not activists.

Some words from the poet Lu Yu:

the clouds above us join and separate,
the breeze in the courtyard leaves and returns.
life is like that, so why not relax?
who can stop us from celebrating?

Hail Eris!

St. Fishmonger Day

May 28, 2005

Some people doubt the existence of St. Fishmonger.

They say that nobody would go through all that trouble for no reward. They say say he would have been spotted by someone. They have no imagination.

I will quote the Mad Fishmonger story from Charles Fort’s “Lo!”:

“Upon May 28th, 1881, near the city of Worcester, England, a fishmonger, with a procession of carts, loaded with several kinds of crabs and periwinkles, and with a dozen energetic assistants, appeared at a time when nobody on a busy road was looking. The fishmonger and his assistants grabbed sacks of periwinkles, and ran in a frenzy, slinging the things into fields on both sides of the road. They raced to gardens, and some assistants, standing on the shoulders of other assistants, had sacks lifted to them, and dumped sacks over the high walls. Meanwhile other assistants, in a dozen carts, were furiously shovelling out periwinkles, about a mile along the road. Also, meanwhile, several boys were busily mixing in crabs. They were not advertising anything. Above all there was secrecy. The cost must have been hundreds of dollars. They appeared without having been seen on the way, and they melted away equally mysteriously. There were houses all around, but nobody saw them.

Would I be so kind as to tell what, in the name of some slight approximation to sanity, I mean by telling such a story?

But it is not my story. The details are mine, but I have put them in, strictly in accordance with the circumstances. There was, upon May 28th, 1881, an occurrence near Worcester, and the conventional explanation was that a fishmonger did it. Inasmuch as he did it unobserved, if he did it, and inasmuch as he did it with tons upon acres, if he did it, he did it as I have described, if he did it.

In Land and Water, June 4, 1881, a correspondent writes that, in a violent thunderstorm, near Worcester, tons of periwinkles had come down from the sky, covering fields and a road, for about a mile. In the issue of June 11th, the Editor of Land and Water writes that specimens had been sent to him. He notes the mysterious circumstance, or the indication of a selection of living things, that appears in virtually all the accounts. He comments upon an enormous fall of sea creatures, unaccompanied by sand, pebbles, other shells, and sea weed.

In the Worcester Daily Times, May 30, it is said that, upon the 28th, news had reached Worcester of a wonderful fall from the sky, of periwinkles on Cromer Gardens Road, and spread far around in fields and gardens. Mostly, people of Worcester were incredulous, but some had gone to the place. Those who had faith returned with periwinkles.

Two correspondents then wrote that they had seen the periwinkles upon the road before the storm, where probably a fishmonger had got rid of them. So the occurrence conventionalised, and out of these surmises arose the story of the fishmonger, though it has never been told before, as I have told it.

Mr. J. Lloyd Bozward, a writer whose notes on meteorological subjects are familiar to readers of scientific periodicals of this time, was investigating, and his findings were published in the Worcester Evening Post, June 9th. As to the story of the fishmonger, note his statement that the value of periwinkles was 16 shillings a bushel. He says that a wide area on both sides of the road was strewn with periwinkles, hermit crabs, and small crabs of an unascertained species. Worcester is about 30 miles from the mouth of the River Severn, or say about 50 miles from the sea. Probably no fishmonger in the world ever had, at one time, so many periwinkles, but as to anybody having got rid of a stock, because of a glutted market, for instance, Mr. Bozward says: “Neither upon Saturday, the 28th, nor Friday, the 27th, was there such a thing procurable in Worcester as a live periwinkle.” Gardens as well as fields were strewn. There were high walls around these gardens. Mr. Bozward tells of about 10 sacks of periwinkles, of a value of about 20, in the markets of Worcester, that, to his knowledge, had been picked up. Crowds had filled pots and pans and bags and trunks before he got to the place. “In Mr. Maund’s garden, two sacks were filled with them.” It is his conclusion that the things fell from the sky during the thunderstorm. So his is the whirlwind-explanation.

There are extraordinary occurrences and conventionalization cloaks them, and the more commonplace the cloakery, the more satisfactory. Periwinkles appear upon a tract of land, through which there is a road. A fishmonger did it.

But the crabs and the fishmonger — and if the fishmonger did the periwinkles, did he do the crabs, if he did it?

Or the crabs and the whirlwind — and, if the periwinkles were segregated from pebbles and seaweed, why not from the crabs, if segregation did it?

The strongest point for the segregationists is in their own mental processes, which illustrate that segregations, whether by wind action, or not, do occur. If they have periwinkles and crabs to explain, and, say, that with a story of a fishmonger, or of a whirlwind, they can explain the periwinkles, though so they cannot explain the crabs, a separation of data occurs in their mentalities. They forget the crabs and tell of the periwinkles. “

I, however, choose to believe the Fishmonger did exist. I think he decided to liven up the world, and perpetuate more mystery.

For this reason I declare May 28th, from now until the Big Crunch, “St. Fishmonger Day”.

Hail Eris.

Be Like The Dog

May 26, 2005

I was thinking today about the man who was planning to shoot a bunch of people here in Hogtown about a year ago.

If you don’t know the story, he drove to a park in the east end, planning to shoot dead as many people as he could before he was gunned down by the police. His car was loaded with guns and ammo. He got out of his car, and was getting ready to open fire when a dog he didn’t know ran up, and started to play with him.

He decided not to kill anyone because the dog showed unconditional kindness to him. The man turned himself into the police so he wouldn’t change his mind later.

Last night at the meeting we discussed small bits of change that can hopefully make a tiny difference in someone”s life. Silly things like blowing up as many balloons as you can on the subway, with other agents doing likewise. Try to tape them to the walls if you can. Drop confetti . . . have fun.

Who knows, you may not know it at the time, but you could change someone’s life.

Hail Eris. All Hail Discordia.

*****EDIT: This man later admitted to having made the entire episode up.

Success!

May 25, 2005

Last night, as I rode the subway, I left one of the Revelation pamphlets on the empty seat next to me, without thinking much about it. I do it routinely, generally people either sit on it, or brush it to the floor without even giving it a cursory glance. Religious tracts are the refuge of the terminally bored.

But, last night – success!

Around Bathurst a young woman sat down next to me, scooping up the daily freebie along with Revelation. First she flipped through the freebie for a minute or so, holding onto the tract, and then dropped the daily and began to read Revelation. I was pretending to read my book, but in reality I was completely absorbed in watching what might happen next. Given the subject matter, it was likely that more than 60% of people would get no further than the second page, and possibly not even read that far. She, however, flipped to the second page and continued reading. She passed the part about the porno theatre and the meat-beaters, passed the bush bursting into flames.

At this point I was giddy – if she made it past all that she may actually read the whole thing.

She continued on through the Eris dialogue, and onto the last page. When she finished she looked back at the first page, then the last page, and opened up to the middle. After that she folded open the pamphlet to see what was inside. Answer: nothing.

Next, she held onto the tract and fidgeted with her fingers for a bit. Yes, I was sitting next to her so I got a good look at everything she did.

After a couple minutes she picked the daily back up, and flipped through it again, while STILL holding onto the tract.

Here’s the best part – she got off at Yonge, like me, but just before she folded the tract in half, and slipped it into her backpack. She kept it.

That, my brothers and sisters, is success.

Oh, and if the young woman happens to be reading this: HI!

Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!

Concert In Fiction World

May 24, 2005

Today on the Q the D.J.’s were discussing the Qstock ‘live’ concert that went on over the weekend . . . the best concert that never happened. It was an all weekend concert in fiction world, broadcast over the radio as if it were a real event, only periodically acknowledged as a fiction.

I like this concept, I would imagine they were bombarded with calls asking where the venue was taking place . . . reminiscent of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds, exaggerated as that was . . .

There should be more fictional events taking place every day.

Hail Eris.

23 Enigmas

May 23, 2005

Today is the 23rd.

Some 23 enigmas (some more ‘true’ than others) for you:

The human biorhythm is 23 days long. Though Hermann Swoboda and Wilhelm Fliess, the two doctors who first posited biorhythm, did determine that a human’s ‘physical cycle’ was 23 days long, biorhythmics is at best a highly speculative and subjective area of study.

It takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate throughout the entire body. Blood is a suspension and does not flow at the same rate for all of its components. Furthermore, there is no single path blood takes when it circulates. For both these reasons, verification is both difficult and meaningless.

Each parent contributes 23 chromosomes to the DNA of a child. True.
The human arm has 23 joints in it. Unconfirmed, and confirmation depends on the definition of joint.

On average, every 23rd wave on a beach will be twice the size of the average wave. False. This idea exists in many parts of the world, with varying numbers of waves.

Earth’s axis is off by 23.5 degrees. Dubious at best. For one, this is a case of stretched applicability, and it depends on using the arbitrary figure of a circle having 360 degrees to come up with an answer even close to 23.
Earth’s period of rotation is really 23 hours and 56 minutes, not exactly 24 hours. (That’s 4 minutes shorter than a day since a day is defined as the time between two noons on the same meridian, which is slightly longer than the period of rotation because meanwhile the Earth is revolving around the Sun.)

The first Moon landing, Apollo 11 was in the Sea of Tranquility at 23.63 degrees East. The second landing, Apollo 12, was in the Ocean of Storms, 23.42 degrees West. Also, 11 + 12, the numbers of the missions, add up to 23. Again, this is stretched as far as the degrees, and there are at least 11 pairs of integers that add to 23, not counting negative integers or zero.

December 23, 2012 is the date the Mayan calendar ends, predicting an apocalyptic event. The Mayan calendar’s “Long Count” does indeed end on either the 21st or 23rd of December of 2012, depending on calculation.
Both the ancient Egyptian and Sumerian calendars begin on 23 July. Both calendars were apparently calculated from the date of the heliacal rising of Sirius, which does occur at that latitude around that time of year.

William Shakespeare was born on 23 April, died on 23 April and had his first portfolio published in 1623. His first play Titus Andronicus was performed January 23rd 1594. Though the last three statements are true, his actual date of birth remains unconfirmed (see his article for more information).

Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times when he was assassinated. True.

The Prophet Muhammad taught and received the wisdom of God for 23 years. There exist hadith that support this figure, but many more that give other lengths of time.

The Knights Templar had 23 Grand Masters, the last being Jacques de Molay. True.

The first song on the first side of the first Beatles album took 23 takes. That would be “I Saw Her Standing There” from Please Please Me, but in reality, the song that took the most takes was “Love Me Do,” at fifteen.

John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 and his supposed assassin — Lee Harvey Oswald — was assassinated on November 24, 1963, the 23rd being in between. True.

If you add up all the digits in 9/11/2001 you get 23. Not exactly, this is another stretching. To make 23, add “11” as normal, but “2001” must be added as the numbers “2” and “1”.

Michael Jordan’s uniform number was 23 when he played for the Chicago Bulls. True

David Beckham wears the number 23 shirt for Real Madrid. True.

On a normal arabic alphabet keyboard, the 23rd letter W is right below and between 2 and 3. True.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt contains of 23 letters. True.

Pi’s first six digits (3.14159) added together equal 23. True.

Caesar Augustus was born on 23 September. True.

Volkswagen’s VW logo contains the roman numeral V (2+3=5) and the 23rd letter W. Volkswagen is based in Wolfsburg which starts with the 23rd letter. True.

666 is said to be taken from 2/3 = 0.666. Very unlikely; see the article Number of the Beast for its history.

John D. Rockefeller died on 23 May. True.

Hagbard (Karl Koch), German hacker and inventor of the trojan horse spyware, died on 23 May. Probable, but not definite. Also most likely a suicide, with the date chosen intentionally to fit this numerology.

Sunday Musings

May 22, 2005

Not much to say for today . . . finally created the forum for the site . . . once we get the forum and this blog linked up to the site along with the favourite links everything will be pretty much complete. There will be gospels to add, but that’s a work in progress.

Ah, Sunday. Usually there is something off putting about Sunday, but tomorrow is a holiday. All is right with the world.

Here is the URL to join the forum before it is linked if it interests you:

  • Justified Agents Of Mummu Forum
  • Until then, Hail Eris!

    *****EDIT: That website no longer exists. You can read about its fate here.

    Saturday Observations

    May 22, 2005

    One of the goals I have set for myself is to be more observant; to try to be like children, and notice things I would usually ignore.

    Today I had the misfortune of being forced to endure a long streetcar ride. During this ride I had a long time to contemplate the large, gelatinous invertebrate which was operating the vehicle. I say ‘operating’ and not driving because, as any TTC passenger could tell you, the operators of the streetcars don’t drive, they don’t steer, they simply accelerate, and decelerate. Go. Stop. Go. Stop. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. The guys who wear change-belts at arcades have more skill. Hot dog vendors are surgeons compared to them. Janitors split the atom. I’ve seen squeegee kids who do more in a day than these jack asses, and yet – and YET – the greasy shit who was operating our oversized bumper car actually had the audacity to have BROKEN a SWEAT. He probably hadn’t moved since the Challenger exploded, but he had cracked a fucking sweat. Apparently by breathing. Unless one can break a sweat simply by dishing out attitude. If this is the case, he was more than worthy to have rivers of juice running from his malodorous pits.

    Somehow these ridiculously vile creatures feel justified in giving the very reason they exist attitude. They react to the people that come to the streetcars as if they are inconveniences, instead of what they actually are: their bread and butter.

    So yes, today I got to observe the Hogtown Streetcar Operator in its naturally pungent habitat. Every experience is a learning experience.

    Hail Eris.

    America Has Finally Got To Us

    May 20, 2005

    Eris strikes again!!!!!

    This story is so amusing I had to include it here, enjoy!

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian village was left baffled Thursday after its lake disappeared overnight.

    NTV television showed pictures of a giant muddy hole bathed in summer sun, while fishermen from the village of Bolotnikovo looked on disconsolately.

    “It is very dangerous. If a person had been in this disaster, he would have had almost no chance of survival. The trees flew downwards, under the ground,” said Dmitry Zaitsev, a local Emergencies Ministry official interviewed by the channel.

    Officials in Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga river east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.

    “I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us,” said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.

    Hail Eris!

    Absolutes

    May 20, 2005

    Friday. Long Weekend. Need I say more?

    Great part in the new Star Wars we saw last night (Episode III Revenge of the Sith, for those who have been dead for the last thirty years) – Oh, I should mention SPOILER ALERT at this point, I suppose. Obi-Wan is fighting Vader toward the end of the movie, and Vader says “You’re either with me, or you are my enemy!” to which Kenobi answers “Only Sith deal in those kinds of absolutes” — I almost levitated.

    The site is looking better and better. I am very pleased with the progress, wish I could say I had something to do with it. Well, I could say that, but I’d be lying.

    At any rate, it’s Friday. Hail Eris!