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Lyle Zapato

An Octopus In A Saw-Mill

Lyle Zapato | 2008-12-28.7770 LMT | Cephalopods | Nature | Cascadia | Art | Politics | Retro

Here's an interesting political cartoon by Ryan Walker from the July, 1904 issue of The Comrade:

'Will it hurt the octopus?' by Ryan Walker

Of interest isn't the political message of the cartoon -- a condemnation of the Republican-controlled US congress' refusal to prohibit government contracts with trusts -- but rather the metaphor being used: an octopus in a saw-mill. Although this trope is all but forgotten in the modern political cartoonists' lexicon, the ecological horror of its origin haunts the forests of Cascadia to this day.

As mentioned previously, the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus will instinctively hide deep inside the branches of its tree if the tree is violently disturbed -- as when being felled by loggers. This often resulted in octopuses going undetected until the trees got to a saw-mill, where the octopuses usually met an unfortunate demise in the mill works. Besides killing the innocent cephalopods, these accidents cost timber companies thousands of dollars every year during the 19th and early 20th centuries due to valuable timber and pulp becoming stained with octopus ink and mills being forced to shut down for the better part of a day for deoctopussing.

Needless to say, this did not please the timber companies, nor the workers who had to clean the mangled, inky octopuses out of the works. To the timber industry, tree octopuses were nothing but costly nuisances -- a view that led to anti-octopus eradication campaigns being promoted in logging camps. Sadly, these profit-motivated cephalopodicidal outbursts were one of the major contributing factors to the tree octopus' current endangered status.

But during the time when tree octopuses were still abundant in the forests of the Northwest, "an octopus in a saw-mill" became a common idiom for an annoyingly messy accident waiting to happen. This makes the joke of the cartoon clearer: Not only will the buzz-saw hurt the trusts octopus, it'll also gum up the blade of legislation and splatter ink on Uncle Sam's patriotic finery, tarnishing his image. Presumably the Socialist editors of The Comrade found this prospect darkly amusing.

UPDATE 2009-10-02: Google Books has a collection of full issues of The Comrade, including the one with the above cartoon. Also, if you are interested in political cartoons or propaganda featuring octopuses, do visit Vulgar Army, a blog devoted almost exclusively to just that.

Lyle Zapato

... And An Octopus In A Christmas Tree

Lyle Zapato | 2008-12-26.2760 LMT | Cephalopods | Nature | Cascadia | Sasquatch Issues

James from Seattle/Olympia writes in with a discovery he made in his Christmas tree:

2008-12-25: "Pacific NW Xmas tree Octopus"

Just letting you know, we spotted this adventurous tree octopi feeling particularly festive.

Xmas Tree Octopus

Sometimes tree octopuses hitch a ride in Christmas trees harvested from farms on the Olympic Peninsula. When its tree is being jostled violently, a tree octopus will hunker down deep inside the branches near the trunk and camouflage itself to look like bark. This is a defensive mechanism to protect it from wind storms and sasquatch trying to shake octopuses to the ground. They may stay hidden like this for days after a particularly violent shaking, such as experienced by Christmas trees when they are chopped down and transported.

Many octopuses have a natural instinct to decorate their lairs with attractive baubles, and O. paxarbolis is no exception. When it finally comes out of hiding and explores its tree, finding it covered in shiny ornaments and sparkly lights, it will become so mesmerized by the baublely abundance that it'll hardly notice that its tree is sitting in some human's living room.

Scandinavian immigrants considered it good luck to find a tree octopus in their Christmas tree. Granted, that's because they like to eat them. But for us more enlightened cephalopodophiles, we can consider it a sign of good luck that the species hasn't yet gone extinct.

And to keep it that way, please remember to remove any octopuses you find before disposing of your Christmas tree. They can be put in a shoe box -- with a bit of moist branch to make them feel comfortable and some tinsel to keep them distracted -- and taken to your nearest chapter of the Friends of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus for reintroduction into the wild.

Lyle Zapato

O Alumbaum!

Lyle Zapato | 2008-12-17.9840 LMT | Aluminum | Mind Control
Alumbaum

O Alumbaum, o Alumbaum,
How are your boughs so shiny!
You sparkle even in the nights,
So I hide you from satellites.
O Alumbaum, o Alumbaum,
How are your boughs so shiny!

O Alumbaum, o Alumbaum,
You dampen the psychotrons!
You help me resist mind-control,
Emitted from the grassy knoll.
O Alumbaum, o Alumbaum,
You dampen the psychotrons!

O Alumbaum, o Alumbaum,
You're coated in corundum!
I know you won't rust in the rain,
So weathermen won't seize my brain.
O Alumbaum, o Alumbaum,
You're coated in corundum!

(Learn more about the Seasonal Aluminum Deflection Tree.)

Lyle Zapato

Zaidi's Sabotoss

Lyle Zapato | 2008-12-17.3248 LMT | Politics | Anarchy | Fashion | Art

J'Acshoes!

We here at ZPi approve of all shoe-based protest. Clog the machine!

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Posta Pneumatica Update

The Philatelist | 2008-12-17.1015 LMT | Philately | Pneumatics | Technology | Cascadia

Welcome to a special addendum issue of Stamp Nook that contains no stamps. Shocking, I know. It does, however, contain a footnote on postal history, so we shall maintain an air of patience while hearing it out.

The blog Division of Labour has found an interesting New York Times article from Dec. 15, 1908 on the rejection by the office of the Postmaster General of a proposal for the U.S. government to own and operate pneumatic tube systems for the delivery of mails. The article in full:

"That it is not feasible and desirable at the present time for the Government to purchase, to install, or to operate pneumatic tubes," is one of the most important conclusions reached by a commission appointed by the Postmaster General to inquire into the feasibility and desirability of the purchase and operation by the Government of pneumatic tubes in the cities where the service is now installed.

The report was to-day transmitted to Congress by Postmaster General Meyer. He approves its conclusions. The commission, however, recommends a further investigation of the subject of Government ownership of the pneumatic tube service in five or six years. The pneumatic tube service is in operation at present in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and Brooklyn.

The report commends the service as an important auxiliary for the rapid transmission of first-class mail and special delivery mail. It, however, adds these conclusions:

That pneumatic tube service appears to be still in an experimental condition, although progress has been made toward the development of a fixed standard of machinery;

That with the above reservation the regularity and efficiency of the tube service are commendable.

The commission was composed of Postmasters Campbell of Chicago, Mansfield of Boston, Roberts of Brooklynm Wyman of St. Louis, and a number of officials of the Postal Service.

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Squidpocalypse Now

Lyle Zapato | 2008-12-05.9845 LMT | Cephalopods | General Paranoia | Politics | Nature | Food

In a 5-4 decision last month the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the U.S. Navy in a dispute over the training use of sonar that ecologists claim is damaging the hearing of whales, causing them to die in mass strandings. The majority opinion, while acknowledging the "ecological, scientific and recreational interests" of protecting whales, nevertheless concluded that the public interest unquestionably lies in preparing for war in order to secure peace, and that whales are expendable.

But in a recent editorial in the Hattiesburg American titled "Squid supremacy must not rule seas", Dorothy Rose Myers of Hollywood, California, exposed the true national security threat at stake:

Whales are the only natural enemy of large squid. Squid will eat anything in the ocean, multiply by the millions and usually inhabit the depths of the ocean where whales like to feed. Without whales, squid will devour everything in the ocean and there will be a world famine.

... When the squid have eaten everything at the bottom of the ocean they will begin to rise and devour everything in each successive layer until they are supreme in the ocean. Squid supremacy trumps military supremacy. And squid will inherit the earth.

Surely the U.S. Navy must be aware of this threat. How could they not have noticed the increase in giant squid sightings in recent years? Or the swarms of aggressively predatory Humboldt squid (known in their traditional waters as Diablo Rojo -- "Red Devil") moving ever Northward? Or the now-common squid attacks on racing yachts? This suggests an ominous possibility: Could the U.S. Navy be in league with squid kind? Could the Navy's sonar technology actually have been intended to be cetacidal in order to eliminate their decapodal ally's natural enemy: the whale?

Before you dismiss this theory of a coming "Squidpocalypse" made possible by the (intentional?) actions of the U.S. Navy, consider that Ms. Myers is no mere armchair conspiracy theorist. She came to understand the mind-set of the upper echelons of the U.S. military while serving as a Pentagon employee during the Eisenhower administration.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower is, of course, famous in paranoid circles for his 1961 farewell address to the Nation, where he warned of the danger of the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the Military-Industrial Complex. Little did Eisenhower know that his fears would not only be realized, but now compounded in the form of a Military-Industrial-Squid Complex.

Lyle Zapato

AFDBs Potentially Subject To Patents?

Lyle Zapato | 2008-12-05.9140 LMT | Mind Control | Paraterrestrials | Aluminum | Technology

Yutaka Yoshinouchi has filed a Japanese patent application (JP2008038574) that at first glance appears to cover both Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanies (AFDBs) and Aluminum-Shielded Enclosures (ASEs), but there are some key differences that should allay fears of lawsuits against AFDB/ASE builders and advocates. Here is the official English translation of the abstract:

INVENTION FOR ANSWER COPING WITH MIND CONTROL

PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To solve a problem wherein an answer coping with mind control by aliens from the sky is desired because mind control by a vicious Gray Orion interfering with free mind of human beings should never be allowed, and leaving as it is leads to the satisfaction of the aliens watching vigilantly for a chance of earth invasion.

SOLUTION: Indoor defense is carried out by using an irregularly reflecting material for a wall, using a radio wave absorber/lead, and disturbing signal pulses by laser or the like to disturb Tesla wave pulses. Outdoor defense is carried out by wearing a helmet covered with the irregularly reflecting material, a helmet with laser spread around, or a helmet covered with the radio wave absorber/lead. On the other hand, defense is carried out by rotating laser horizontally and obliquely upward from high-rise buildings, parks, facilities, and the like in each area.


Fig. 2: Helmet configurations.

First of all, note the scope of the mind-control protection claims only applies to the primitive radio-based technology used by the vicious Gray Orions (who are not related to the psychotronics-using Reticulans, a.k.a. "Greys", whose center of civilization is in the Zeta Reticuli system). The Gray Orions are one of a multitude of Paraterrestrial Entity Factions (PEFs) seeking influence in the Sol system. They are a little-heard-of PEF precisely because of their backwards mind-control technology, which is easily overwhelmed by the psychotronic smog of the Earth's noosphere. Mr. Yoshinouchi must have had some run-in with an agent of the Gray Orions and made a personal enemy to even bother with developing paranoid technology to counter them.


Fig. 3: Tesla-wave-pulse disrupting laser configurations.

Next note that Mr. Yoshinouchi's invention goes beyond passive deflective shielding and incorporates lasers. As I understand it, the lasers are integral to the anti-mind-control system that he is patenting, meaning that AFDBs/ASEs on their own would not be covered. To the best of my knowledge, no paranoid researcher has thought to use AFDB-mounted lasers to counter Tesla-wave pulses. This truly is an innovative development, even if it will only work on Gray Orion radio signals (and will undoubtedly reveal your paranoid status to government spy satellites).

Finally, note that the patent application specifically calls for "radio wave absorber/lead", not psychotronically deflective aluminum. This obviously exempts AFDBs/ASEs, although lead- or Velostat-based derivative technologies, if used in conjunction with lasers, might fall under the patent's scope.

Unfortunately only the abstract was translated into English. The text of the full description and claims is in image format so I can't machine translate it easily. I would be very interested in a full translation, both to see the details of his unique design and perhaps learn a bit of Mr. Yoshinouchi's history with the Gray Orions.

The Monorailist

The Dream Of Being A Monorail Train

The Monorailist | 2008-12-01.5675 LMT | Monorail Danger

The lure of the Monorail is so enticing that some of us wish to transcend mere ridership and become one with Monorailularity. Such was the case this morning on the Blue Train track of the Seattle Monorail, as reported in the Seattle P.I.:

Seattle's monorail was temporarily shut down Monday after a man was seen walking, and at times lying, on the track near Westlake Center, police reported.

Police negotiators were called to the scene. The man first was reported walking on the tracks about 10 a.m., police spokeswoman Renee Witt. And at about 10:19 a.m., the man apparently surrendered to police and firefighters who walked onto the rails to negotiate with him.

Witnesses said the man, who is deaf, took off chasing the train as it left Westlake Center. Police were able to coax him back to Westlake Center by negotiating him through sign language.

The man was unhurt, but transported to Harborview Medical Center for evaluation.

According to local television station King 5, it was "not immediately clear why the man jumped onto the tracks." Well, perhaps it was not clear to the banal minds of the MSM -- the Monorail Sabotaging Media, who were instrumental in the downfall of the Seattle Monorail Project through their treasonous campaign of disinformation against the Seattle Popular Monorail Authority -- but to those of us with the clarity of vision and basic Humanity to understand our species' Monorail Destiny, the man's motive was heart-achingly clear: he wanted to be a monorail train.

Much like when Primitive Man first looked up at the birds and wished that he too had wings, Sophisticated Man -- that is to say, Monorail Man (Homo unilongurius) -- now looks monorailward in longing. A desire for pure monorailism, unfettered by the locomotive limitations of the primordial meat-sticks that we call our limbs, is the defining dream of those who have obtained Monorail Consciousness; a dream to not just move with the Monorail -- seated passively, however luxurious the ride may be -- but to move as the Monorail, to be fully engaged in the motive will of monorailular movement. It is, in short, a dream to become the Monorail Train itself.

Often, I too dream of being a monorail train: to glide along that singular rail in the same whooshing efficiency; to know intimately the feeling of pulling into the loving embrace of a monorail station; to experience wholly the singularity of purpose, the surety of direction, that the Monorail embodies. I know that I am not alone in these yearnings; if you are capable of honest self-evaluation, you will gladly admit to them too. This desire is so powerful, so primal, that it even manifests in some subsentient species:

Monorail Cat

Man seems almost hopelessly imperfect when measured against the sublime perfection of the Monorail. It is therefore no wonder that we should strive against all reason to attain even the smallest modicum of that perfection, however beyond our reach it may seem. This is, ultimately, the true nature of the Monorail: it beckons us to go beyond our assumed limits, and then to go even further, and after that, yet further still! The Monorail takes us along a never-ending, never-diverting track forever accelerating toward transcension; our next stop: Eternity. Could God Himself be Monorailular? I think this is a Truth without serious objection. How else does one explain the truism: to lie naked on a monorail track is to experience a touch of the Divine?

So, I say to the unnamed man who today walked where monorail trains glide and laid down there dreaming of taking his place among them: Keep the dream alive! (Just please don't interrupt the monorail service again. I depend on it for all my travel.)

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Rove & Roosevelt, Contrasting Philatelists

The Philatelist | 2008-11-26.4890 LMT | Philately | Polydactylism | Politics

Welcome again to Stamp Nook! Today we spotlight two powerful, yet very different, philatelists: Karl Rove and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It's hardly a secret that philatelists run much of the world. Philately is, after all, an elite pastime that appeals to those accustomed to luxury and ultimate wealth, so of course those who reach the pinnacles of power are privileged to partake in it. But beyond that, there is a natural affinity between the collecting of stamps from various nations and the collecting of various nations themselves that appeals to the Imperial-minded. (Interesting fact: World War I was orchestrated as part of a gentleman's agreement among philatelist leaders of the Allied and Central Powers for no other purpose than to create a pretext for the independence of more nations from which new stamps could be issued.)

Kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, heads of state and potentates -- philatelists all! Those who aspire to power would do well to start a stamp collection, if for no other reason than to have something to chat about while hobnobbing at Bilderberg conferences.

Given philately's ubiquity among the world's ruling class, it's no wonder that Karl Rove -- the Republican strategist who, unable to acquire the power he desperately desires through conventional means, has instead ingratiated himself into the company of the elite as a sort of modern-day Kingmaker -- all-too-readily admitted to being a 'practicing philatelist' last year at a Radio-Television Correspondents' Association dinner. However, when asked if he had any rare stamps in his collection, he conceded that he did not.

That's probably for the best as he's wont to use items from his collection for actual postal transactions, as was the case when he mailed a note to the owner of a soap-box derby car named in his honour, plastering the envelope with a 'hodgepodge of vintage stamps from his collection, including an eight-center with a stylized image of a bobsled, commemorating the Sapporo Olympics, in 1972' (Scott #1461).

In a recent New York Times interview, Rove acknowledged his predilection for using his stamps to humourous effect:

Are you going to send [US President-Elect Barack Obama] a little note congratulating him?
I already have. I sent it to his office. I sent him a handwritten note with funny stamps on the outside.

What kind of funny stamps?
Stamps.

To Rove's boorish mind, stamps themselves are funny. His unsophisticated use of stamps to express messages, apparently often of a trite nature, is more akin to the Language of Stamps once used by novice philatelists than to true philatelic steganography as practiced by those elite philatelists who fully embody their positions of power -- philatelists whom Rove unconvincingly emulates. For an example of the latter, we need only look to FDR.

Unlike Rove's irreverent, if not dilettantish, take on philately, US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a serious philatelist who took great pride in his collection and interest in the philatelic arts at all levels. While President, he was very active in the design process for new stamps, exercising veto power over proofs that didn't meet with his exacting standards. He even sketched original designs for several issues, including a Mother's Day stamp (#737) intended to encourage Americans to write their mums.

Some have suggested that the only reason FDR ran for president was so he could create new material for his collection. He certainly was unabashed at using the power of his office to further his philatelic goals, going so far as to have the Post Office Department create a commemorative Polar Stamp (#733 -- his own design, naturally) and establish a post office at Admiral Byrd's expedition base in Antarctica just so he could have for his own collection a cover with a special postmark from 'Little America'. Now that's a dedicated philatelist.

Roosevelt's love of stamps was of such international renown that it became the subject of a 1947 stamp from Monaco (#C16). Besides commemorating the tenacity with which he pursued philately, this stamp was the only depiction of a physical abnormality FDR possessed that was kept hidden from the public. I am of course referring to the extra finger he had on his left hand:

Monaco, Scott #C16

Not wishing to alarm a nation already made nervous by Depression and War with the possibility suggested by his sinister sixth digit of a physio-transformative morphogenic awakening -- a 'New Deal' for human physiology, if you will -- brought on by the sympathetic gravity of unfolding historical events, Roosevelt insisted that his extra finger be airbrushed out of all official photos (a technique suggested to him by Stalin, who often used it to erase sore thumbs). He even took to pretending to have suffered from polio in order to distract attention away from his hand, such was the level of secrecy surrounding his asymmetric polydactylism.

But being a philatelist to the end -- his last phone call, less than an hour before his death, was with his Postmaster General, Frank C. Walker, about the first day ceremonies for a United Nations stamp -- Roosevelt made certain his secret would be revealed only to his fellow stamp collectors, whom he knew could be trusted with the information. Thus a seemingly innocuous airmail stamp from a seemingly innocuous Monaco was used to reveal his secret from beyond the grave.

The stamp was issued to commemorate the principality's participation in the Centenary International Philatelic Exhibition. Obviously this rarefied subject would garner the attention of the philatelic elite more than that of the non-stamp-collecting hoi polloi. Notice the details of the design: FDR seems to be using his magnifying glass on a stamp from his collection, but there is something amiss that only a true philatelist would note... he is not using philatelic tongs! A dedicated practitioner of philately such as FDR would never risk exposing his precious stamps to finger grease, making it clear to the philatelist that the magnifying glass is actually a prompt to use one's own glass to examine FDR's hand more closely, allowing his polydactyl secret to be known.

To this day FDR's condition is denied to the public; but we philatelists, who carefully study the signals and hidden messages delivered through stamps by our compatriots in positions of power throughout the world's governments, know the truth -- about this and many more important things I shan't divulge in mixed company.

So until next time, keep studying your stamps for further instructions and happy philateling!

Lyle Zapato

To Boldly Go Where Lord Kelvin Already Went

Lyle Zapato | 2008-11-19.1990 LMT | Kelviniana | Entertainment

Speaking of J.J. Abrams and trivial entertainment news with minor connections to subjects on my site... Perhaps in acknowledgement of his service in the War of the Worlds, Lord Kelvin has been honored with a starship in his name in Abrams' upcoming Star Trek reboot.

USS Kelvin

The USS Kelvin (designation NCC-0514) was, according to one fan site's calculation, constructed in the 2220s -- predating both the USS Enterprise and James T. Kirk. George Kirk, James' father, apparently served as first officer on the Kelvin before it was destroyed by Romulans:

USS Kelvin blowing up

While the plot of the movie is closely guarded, might we suspect Kirk's father died in that explosion? Could this be the event that prompted Kirk to give up his misspent youth of driving Corvettes off of cliffs to follow in his father's footsteps by joining Star Fleet, thus setting him on the path to become the greatest Starship Captain in the history of the Federation, if not the Alpha-Quadrant, and save countless lives from a quadro-triticale famine on Sherman's Planet by averting the Tribble Menace? Sure, why not.

Obviously this ship is even more important than the Enterprise to the history of Star Trek. How fitting that it should named in Lord Kelvin's honor.