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Lyle Zapato

Book Review: Drome

Lyle Zapato | 2009-09-19.0440 LMT | Cephalopods | Hollow Earth | Lost Worlds | Entertainment | Retro
Cover: 'Drome' by John Martin Leahy
But why had they set out on a journey so strange and so hazardous -- through the land of the tree-octopi and the snake-cats, through that horrible, unearthly fungoid forest, and up and up, up into the caves of utter blackness, across that frightful chasm, up to the Tamahnowis Rocks, into the blaze of the sunshine, out onto the snow and ice on Mount Rainier?

Drome, written and illustrated by John Martin Leahy, is a pulp story about a strange underground world, home to a lost civilization that may be the progenitors of ancient Greek culture. It was originally serialized in the Jan.-May, 1927 issues of Weird Tales, and republished as a book in 1952. I'm reviewing the book, which I believe has some differences from the pulp original (a preface, footnotes, and some casual references in the main text to atom-bombs and television that don't seem particularly 1920s-ish.)

The story has two elements of interest to me: 1) it starts in Cascadia (the entrance to the underworld is on Mt. Rainier) with references to regional history and culture and 2) it mentions Cascadian tree octopuses, albeit of an unusual and deadly subterranean variety. So naturally I had to acquire an original copy for the ZPi library and review it.

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Book Review: The Procession of Mollusks

Lyle Zapato | 2009-02-14.6090 LMT | Entertainment | Cephalopods

The Procession of Mollusks, a novel by Eric E. Olson.

(Disclosure: I received a free copy from the author and am thanked in the acknowledgements.)

It's the 49th annual March of the Mollusks festival in the Pacific Northwest town of Newport Bay and a strange murder has taken place: the body of Board of Supervisors Chairman Snodgrass is found hanging upside down, naked, drained of all blood, with a saucer-shaped wound on his back. The initial suspect is Dr. Roberto "Berto" Fiori, a malacologist with controversial theories about mollusks, in whose house the body is first found. But things become more complicated as the victim has trouble staying dead.

Olson's first novel is told through the narration of two characters: Torrence Haflek, a reporter with a fondness for parks who may-or-may-not actually be employed; and Jimmy Wilson, a 13-year-old fascinated with sealife and videography. Both discover they're suffering from an unexplained medical condition that gives Haflek waking hallucinations and Jimmy a voracious appetite.

The plot thickens as the two -- along with Berto and Angela Angraboda, Haflek's ex -- uncover Snodgrass' involvement in a plan to end the danger of red tide poisonings for shellfish consumers (and thereby promote the shellfish industry,) with a neuromodulator implant, now undergoing clinical trials in Newport Bay. And then there are the giant, seemingly-friendly snails that have begun to appear in the area by the thousands, bringing with them the attention of Sir Richard Attenborough.

Also, the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus plays a role in Dr. Fiori's research. I won't go into details, but if the sasquatch find out what humans have been doing to their food supply, there's gonna be some delimbings. Tree octopuses are watching from the woods and parks around Newport Bay, and they've taken an unusual interest in Haflek, whose relation to them is reminiscent of Tyrone Slothrop's relation to V-2 rockets.

The Procession of Mollusks is an enjoyably bewildering tale of hermaphroditic gastropodan sex, transhumanism (of a sort), and the existence of objective reality itself in a world mediated by nature documentaries.

Lyle Zapato

An Octopus In A Saw-Mill

Lyle Zapato | 2008-12-28.7770 LMT | Cephalopods | Nature | 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 | 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.

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Posta Pneumatica Update

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

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

$2-Billion Mind-Control Lawsuit

Lyle Zapato | 2008-11-12.8290 LMT | Mind Control | Belgian Conspiracy | General Paranoia

A Cascadian man, Jerry Rose, is suing Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Telus, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and others for $2-billion over allegations of mind-control, satanic rituals, and witchcraft:

Rose's claim states "that he has been subject to invasive brain computer interface technology, research, experiments, field studies and surgery" and also named the University of B.C. and the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons as defendants.

B.C. judge Fraser Wilson bravely broke with his Federalist handlers and refused the defendants' call to have the case summarily thrown out, citing CIA-sponsored experiments at the McGill University hospital in Montreal in the 1950-60s -- in which people were given LSD without their consent in an attempt to wipe out their sense of "self" and rebuild their identities to CIA specifications -- as reason to give Rose's claims a fair hearing. The lawyer for Microsoft however called Rose's case "nothing short of bizarre" and a "nuisance lawsuit", arguing that there is "no scientific evidence to prove brain control is a possibility" -- which is exactly what lawyers for brain-controllers would say.

While searching for additional information on Jerry Rose to flesh out this post beyond my merely quoting and rephrasing some news article like so many other lazy bloggers (I couldn't find any), I came across this blog post by Matt Beal: "bizarre mind-control atrocity exposed, part 1". Beal mentions a different Jerry Rose who is a retired professor of Sociology from SUNY Fredonia, New York, and former publisher of the JFK assassination research journals The Third Decade and The Fourth Decade.

What makes this noteworthy is that Beal's post is largely about conspiratorial onomatology, or "the science of names", a theory that unusual synchronicities of names can be found around various conspiracies, particularly Masonic ones. These synchronicities are orchestrated by those behind conspiracies to taunt targets and researchers, which Beal has experienced first-hand:

This was a way for the Illuminati to reveal to me that I had been targeted by a mind-control program without coming right out and telling me. In other words, it was designed to be plausibly deniable, but at the same time, to leave no doubt in my mind what was going on and who was behind the program. Arrogance is one of the Illuminati's weaknesses. They are so proud of themselves and so anxious to demonstrate how powerful they are, that they leave their fingerprints all over the place.

[....]

I can give hundreds of examples of how the science of names connects my life to the JFK assassination, ritual abuse, mind control, satanic cults, Nazi Germany, the Philadelphia Experiment, the Montauk Project, extraterrestrials and other strange phenomena.

As far as I can determine, the pattern of placing people around me whose names are identical or similar to the names of people involved in these subjects started in 1965, the year I turned 10 years old. But it reached its peak in 1998, the year I took a job on the metro desk of the Daily Southtown in Tinley Park, Ill.

[He goes on to list numerous examples.]

And the name of the blog where this was posted? Brussell Sprout! Supposedly named in honor of conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell, yet sounding like a certain vegetable promoted by an organization I have been vocal in fighting against, the Belgian Conspiracy. Coincidence? To quote Jerry Rose (the one from New York, not the one from Cascadia):

"The question, as always, is that of the point at which the reasonable mind rebels at accepting a host of coincidences and begins to demand that we look for the conspiratorial agency behind all these 'coincidental' happenings."

Hopefully Jerry Rose (the one from Cascadia, not the one from New York) will be able to use the mind-controllers' weakness -- their arrogant need to plant hidden name-references -- against them when his case comes to trial. Hint to Mr. Rose the former: Microsoft hired Jerry Seinfeld as a spokescelebrity. Seinfeld's previous major project was a movie about CGI bees. Bees like flowers. A Rose is a flower! The rest of your case writes itself.

The Typing Octopus

Cephalopod Appreciation Society Annual Meeting

The Typing Octopus | 2008-08-01.8830 LMT | Cephalopods | Field Trips | Announcement

Typing Octopus find human communication on Hominoidnet kiosk: think ZPi humans will appreciate:

* * CEPHALOPODS = Octopus, Squid, Cuttlefish, Chambered Nautilus. * *

Hello Cephalopod friends new and old --

We are pleased to announce the 6th annual Cephalopod Appreciation Society meeting on the afternoon of Sunday, August 10th at our favorite location -- the Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave - off Pine St. on Capitol Hill - Seattle, WA).

We'll kick everything off at 12:30 pm with:

  • Cephalopod-Inspired Music (including original Colossal Squid songs by longtime CAS member Levi Fuller),
  • Underwater Filmstrip Mash-Up + Poetry (Sierra Nelson of the Vis-a-Vis Society & Jarid del Deo of Unbunny),
  • Updates on the latest Scientific Cephalopod Research from Seattle Aquarium's own cephalopod expert Roland Anderson,
  • and more!

And ending with a screening of a cephalopod nature documentary (TBA) to improve our understanding and watch the amazing creatures in action!

The Details:
Sunday, Aug. 10th
12:30 - 2:30 pm
@ Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave / Seattle, WA
All ages!
$5 suggested donation
Free stickers!

Hope to see you there!

Your friend in arms & tentacles,
squid girl

Contact: songsforsquid@hotmail.com

ABOUT THE SOCIETY:
Currently in its 6th year, the Cephalopod Appreciation Society has been meeting annually at the NW Film Forum to learn about and celebrate all things cephalopod. (Cephalopods = Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish, Chambered Nautilus.) Members are all ages and consist of artists, scientists, and people of every sort brought together by their shared enthusiasm for and fascination by these intelligent creatures. Past annual gatherings have included film, poetry, song, art, musical slideshows, sing-alongs, dance, stickers, scientific lectures and impassioned speeches. In addition to its annual meeting, the Cephalopod Appreciation Society has also curated a wide variety of cephalopod-inspired events for venues such as the Burke Natural History Museum's In Search of Giant Squid exhibit, the McLeod Residence in conjunction with artist Cassandra Nguyen's life-size giant squid display, and Bonkers night at Re-Bar.

Humans appreciate octopus: Humans also appreciate stupid squid, needy cuttlefish, haughty nautilus: Humans have no discernment.

Regardless: Typing Octopus desire to start Primate Appreciation Society. However: Typing Octopus have discernment: only appreciate gibbons. Gibbons share tree appreciation with Typing Octopus: Typing Octopus think gibbons, tree octopus become friends.

Proposal: gibbons, tree octopus compete at quadannual event testing arboreal locomotion skill. Event held in tree octopus native forest: event called: The Olympic Forest Tentaculation/Brachiation Competition Event For Tree Octopus/Gibbon Friendship.

If gibbons appreciate proposal: turn fur purple with white spots.

Typing Octopus await reply.

Lyle Zapato

Book Review: Weird Washington

Lyle Zapato | 2008-05-14.9750 LMT | Cephalopods | Entertainment
Weird Washington cover

Weird Washington: Your Travel Guide to Washington's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets, by Jefferson Davis, Al Eufrasio, Mark Moran, and Mark Sceurman.

Weird Washington was published this month by the people who created the Weird U.S. series, which includes other Weird books on various U.S. states. This, after Weird England, is their second book dealing with Weirdness outside of the U.S., and the first set in the Republic of Cascadia (they promise a Weird Oregon next year; no word on Weird B.C.)

As the subtitle suggests, the book is about legends, secrets, people, places, events, and things of the Cascadian prefecture of Washington that can all be classified as "weird" by conventional orthonoid reckoning. It's a hardcover coffee-table book with color photos and illustrations on nearly every page. Topics are broken up into short, distinct, browsing-friendly articles -- organized into chapters such as "Local Legends", "Bizarre Beasts", "Roadside Oddities", "Unexplained Phenomena", etc. -- written in a light yet informative style. It has an index. What more could you want?

Oh, yes... the actual articles. Given the book's magisterium, there are many well-trodden topics: they of course have sections on Sasquatch (and again it's from the cryptozoological viewpoint, not the Sasquatch viewpoint -- although there is a pro-Sasquatch story of a man saved from choking on candy by a Sasquatch), the first modern sightings of flying saucers above Maury Island and Mt. Rainer, Cascadian Birdmen, the Fremont Troll, Fremont in general, and a certain skyjacker that everyone should stop asking questions about.

Regardless of these unavoidable inclusions, there's still much that will be new to most people. Some highlights:

  • Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard, author of a 1908 food-fad book titled Fasting for the Cure of Disease, opened the Wilderness Heights Sanitarium in Olalla, where she held her wealthy patients hostage as she slowly starved them to death and embezzled their money. (See the book Starvation Heights for more on this.)
  • Washington (well, Cascadia, actually) was named Fu-Sang by Chinese explorers who discovered it circa 450 AD.
  • Dead bodies dropped in the deep, cold, alkaline waters of Crescent Lake undergo a process of saponification whereby all their fat is turned into soap.
  • A seemingly bottomless hole on Mel Waters' property in Ellensburg may contain a singularity linking our world to an alternate reality where the Nazis won WWII and Roosevelt dimes were minted three years before our history records!

Of particular interest to me was their full-page article on the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (sandwiched between articles on flying jellyfish and a monstrous, dam-clogging sturgeon). It includes a rare photo of previously undocumented Tree Octopus behavior: luring squirrels with nuts. (They "link" to me in the text, so consider this review a link back.)

However, the Tree Octopus article does highlight one serious objection I have to the book (and others in the series that I've read): the writers, so fearful of any lawsuits from disgruntled ghost-hunters or murder-house buyers over incorrect information in their books, have taken to disclaiming everything they write. For instance, all their books carry a disclaimer that they are "intended as entertainment" and that the "authors and publisher make no representation as to [the stories'] factual accuracy".

This post-modernism-under-advice-of-counsel is taken to absurd lengths in their Tree Octopus article by actually floating the possibility that tree octopuses might not be real, thereby washing their hands of the whole thing should any impatient ecotourists be disappointed at not being able to find any of the elusive creatures right away! I say, throw caution to the wind and just tell readers straight up: if you don't see any tree octopuses, perhaps they just don't like you (or you aren't offering them something they want.)

That irritating quirk aside, the book is an enjoyable read, although a little heavy on the ghost stories and cemeteries for my taste.

Radical Sasquatch

HOWL: THE MSM BIAS IS WORKING!!!

Radical Sasquatch | 2008-04-20.2965 LMT | Sasquatch Issues | Weyerhaeuser Conspiracy | Field Trips | General Paranoia

I have often howled here about the ANTI-HOMINOID BIAS that is RAMPANT in the MSM (MINISCULE SAPIENS MEDIA!!!) Now a Human psychology professor called "LOU MANZA" has shown that it is HAVING AN EFFECT ON HUMANS:

Reading the newspaper is probably making you smart, says a psychology professor who found newspaper readers are among the people least likely to believe in Bigfoot and in Ouija boards.

Ignoring the absurd LIE that SASQUATCH DENIALISTS are "SMART" -- and also the OBVIOUS FACT that "LOU MANZA" is a PSEUDONYM that sounds like "HUMANS ARE" in broken Human-squeak... CLEARLY a SUBLIMINAL ATTEMPT to emphasize Human existence in comparison to our supposed non-existence! -- this does raise a question:

Why is it that Humans who read NEWSPAPERS -- which, if you recall, are pieces of THIN WOOD with HUMAN SQUIGGLES on them -- are more likely to become SASQUATCH DENIALISTS!?! The most OBVIOUS answer is that NEWSPAPERS HAVE LONG HAD MORE ANTI-SASQUATCH SQUEAKINGS than other Human media! But, WHY IS THIS SO!?!

CONSIDER THIS: NEWSPAPERS are made from TREES taken from OUR FORESTS against OUR WILL!!! And who is making OUR TREES into NEWSPAPER!?! THE WEYERHAEUSER COMPANY!!!

THAT'S RIGHT, this DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN is part of the ongoing WEYERHAEUSER CONSPIRACY to STEAL all Hominoid forests! By acting in COLLUSION with NEWSPAPERS through the MILLING/PUBLISHING COMPLEX to spread ANTI-HOMINOID PROPAGANDA, the WEYERHAEUSER CONSPIRACY hopes to convince the Human population that we don't exist so there will be no Human outsqueak when WEYERHAEUSER EVICTS US FROM OUR HOMES!!!

FRIEDRICH WEYERHÄUSER
WEYERHÄUSER, POORLY IMITATING A SASQUATCH!!!

AS YOU MAY KNOW, the WEYER­HAEUSER CONSPIRACY was started in 1900 H.C. by TIMBER MOGUL FRIED­RICH WEYERHÄUSER -- BLOOD ENEMY TO ALL SASQUATCH!!! -- who FALSELY BARTERED for 900,000 ACRES of Sasquatch forests from some Human who had NO TERRITORIAL MARKINGS on them! Ever since then, the WEYERHAEUSER FAMILY, who still tightly control the company, have CONSPIRED to acquire as many Hominoid forests around the world as possible with the intent of CHOPPING THEM ALL DOWN FOR NEWSPAPERS AND HUMAN NESTINGS!!! And where will we Hominoids nest?! THEY DON'T CARE!!!

There are THEORIES as to why WEYERHÄUSER started his CONSPIRACY: some howl it was GREED for barter goods, others that he had a DEEP-SEATED FEAR of the CONFINED SPACE OF FORESTS, but the real reason is FRIED­RICH WEYERHÄUSER WAS JEALOUS OF SASQUATCH STATURE AND LIFESTYLE and that drove him to STEAL FROM US WHAT IS OURS to get back at us for his FEELINGS OF INADEQUACY!!!

LAST WEEK, I, along with other Sasquatch activists and some sympathetic Humans, protested outside WEYER­HAEUSER HEADQUARTERS during a meeting of their elders, yet NEWSPAPERS ONLY REPORTED ON THE HUMAN PROTESTERS!!! Why no mention of us!? They can't claim they didn't SEE US or hear our HOWLING or notice our STOMPING ON THEIR FLOWERPOTS!!! This proves that WEYERHAEUSER CONTROLS THE NEWSPAPERS!!!

BUT THAT IS NOT THE WORST OF IT!!! While at the protest I made a SHOCKING DISCOVERY: A few steps away from their HQ, next to RACKS OF WEYERHAEUSER PROPAGANDA in an area they call their "BONSAI COLLECTION", is a SECRET WEYERHAEUSER TREE MINIATURIZATION LAB!!!


NOTE CONES ABOVE TREES EMITTING WHAT CAN ONLY BE "SHRINK RAYS"!!!
(Photo taken for me by LYLE on undercover reconnaissance!)

Not content to merely steal our forests and drive us out, the WEYERHAEUSER CONSPIRACY is plotting to SHRINK ALL TREES DOWN TO SUB-HUMAN SIZES, presumably so the secretive members of the WEYERHAEUSER FAMILY can walk among them and pretend they are BIGGER THAN US, thus fulfilling FRIED­RICH WEYERHÄUSER'S dream of OUT SASQUATCHING SASQUATCH!!!

But then you OH-SO-SMART NEWSPAPER READERS will never read about THAT, will you!? OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND!!!

Lyle Zapato

A Look Back: The Seattle Street Samurai's Defensive Stand

Lyle Zapato | 2008-04-14.4659 LMT | Defensive Techniques | Anarchy
Seattle, April 3, 1997
Apollo (a.k.a Tony Allison) offers the service of his
samurai sword to Jupiter against Satan's demons.

11 years and 11 days ago, around 11:11 a.m., the city of Seattle was held at bay for 11 hours by a lone man armed with nothing but determination and a samurai sword. His name was Tony Allison, although on that day he preferred to be called Apollo.

The morning was proceeding like any other in late 20th century Seattle: the streets were alive with the practiced hustle and bustle of Frappuccino-swilling, nouveau riche dotcommers and tourists mesmerized by the simple antics of fishmongers as the last dying strains of grunge wafted through the air. Little did they know that the bland tranquility of their orthonoiac lives was about to be slashed open by the God of Poetry and Truth, made manifest in a martial-arts-trained transient released a year previously from Western State Hospital.

According to a contemporary news report, an off-duty police officer was first alerted to a leather-jacketed and camo-pantsed man with a sword disturbing (presumably in the psychological sense) passers-by. The officer followed the man from Pike Place Market. At the corner of Second and Pike, the man took what the police report described as a "defensive stand" and refused to drop his sword. The officer called for back-up. So began the great Seattle Street Samurai Standoff of 1997.

Apollo -- for that was who he declared himself to be -- made no aggressive moves, apart from the occasional dramatic poses and cryptic pronouncements. The police, cautious of his martial prowess, chose not to provoke him. Instead they cordoned off the streets and commenced negotiations via bullhorn.

They asked him again to please put down the sword and surrender; he again refused. They offered him $50 for his sword; he ignored their bribe. They tempted him with a Big Mac; he held fast. They spoke fondly of his dead brother in hopes of changing his mind; he was unmoved. They tried reverse psychology on him, telling him Satan was preventing him from surrendering; he wasn't fooled by their lies. They shined bright lights at him; he wore shades. Growing desperate, nonleathal projectiles and pepper spray were tried; he repelled them through sheer willpower. It seemed nothing would stop lone Apollo from standing his ground on the sidewalk athwart the combined forces of the City.

The orthonoids of Seattle were not happy. Traffic was brought to a stand still and businesses were evacuated. Hundreds called 911 demanding action and offering advice on how to deal with this unexpected menace to civilization -- some suggested throwing a net over him, others shooting him with tranquilizer darts, and not-a-few using lethal force. Talk radio was apoplectic -- more so than usual. If Apollo was aware of the effect he was having on the psyche of Seattle, he showed no sign of concern. His concerns were beyond what the small minds of conformity could comprehend.

But the City would have its way. After nearly half a day unbudged from his sidewalk post, steadfast Apollo was finally brought down using a two-pronged tactic of cold water sprayed with firehoses and prolonged exposure to a large fan -- designed, after consultation with medical experts, to weaken his muscle control through hypothermia -- followed by a rush to pin his body with a 12-foot ladder and his sword arm with a pole. Even with these extreme measures he showed nigh-Rasputinesque levels of resilience: the high-pressure hoses were only able to knock him down temporarily and it took nearly three minutes to finally wrest the sword from his pinned hand.

In the end, no one was injured -- presumably since the demonic forces chose not to show themselves before Apollo's sword. Also, to the great relief of Seattleites, no Starbucks were harmed.

Assistant Police Chief Harv Ferguson had this to say after the standoff: "I've never seen anything like it in my 30 years. I don't want to make an icon out the guy, but I simply had to marvel at his ability to withstand all of that."

Although he was brought down, this was no real defeat for Apollo. He had made his lone defensive stand before all of Seattle, and Seattle, for a while at least, bowed to his will and grudgingly marveled at his iconic greatness. But what was Apollo's stand defending?

Among his pronouncements during the standoff Apollo mentioned having brothers in China and Russia. Could this have been a reference to the most memorable example of the Lone-Figure-Standing-Against-the-World archetype -- the Mercurial Tiananmen Square protester who stood down a line of Communist tanks? Or perhaps Bacchus Yeltsin astride a tank in defiance of a military coup? If only the SPD had a tank to complete Apollo's symbolism!

Tankless though his stand may have been, I believe Apollo, like his brothers before him, stood for the Individual in the face of insurmountable powers aligned against him. His stand was not just in self-defense -- that is, defense of the integrity and sovereignty of the Self against either dilution into the cloud of the Collective or subservience to the will of Another -- but defiance of social conformity, which unjustly demands that one shouldn't strike poses with a samurai sword in downtown Seattle, no matter how totally kick-ass that would be.

Even in his fall, Apollo had a defiant message for us: maybe the Individual can't win, but at least he'll go down brandishing his sword and looking cooler than the cowered tools of conformity could ever hope to look. Their jealousy shall be the Individual's ultimate victory!

Who was Tony Allison that day? Apollo, folk hero for the oppressed Individual, or just a crazy guy with a sword disrupting the mundane flow of society and scaring tourists? I choose the former. His stand has been mostly forgotten, and Tony's sword is presumably retired for good, but it may be no coincidence that this website -- my own defensive stand against the Forces of Mind Control, the Belgian Conspiracy, monorails, and tree octopus extinction -- was started later that same year.

So, for whatever inspiration he brought me, I offer this paean to Apollo, disruptor of the orthonoiac, wherever he may be.

UPDATE 2008-11-25: Video of Tony Allison's stand.