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Lyle Zapato

Book Review: Micronations

Lyle Zapato | 2007-01-26.4350 LMT | Cascadia | Politics
Micronations cover

Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations by John Ryan, George Dunford, and Simon Sellars.

(My apologies to the authors for not getting to this sooner, like in time for the Year End Consumer Orgy. Also, book-review-reader beware: I am a very minor subject of this book -- three paragraphs and a flag worth -- and was sent a free copy by the publisher.)

Micronations is a colorful look -- both in the full-color photos and illustrations that appear on nearly every of its 156 pages and in the variety of colorful characters introduced -- at various nations that haven't yet been recognized by those bastards at the UN (not that it's any of their business).

It's about time a travel guide publisher has addressed these overlooked and underappreciated nations. While the unfairly diminutive prefix micro- has caused many to dismiss them as unimportant or even fictional, each and every one stands tall as a testament to the human desire for self determination (and they're all certainly more real than Belgium).

The guide's presentation is a mix of in-depth, 3-to-6-page articles on specific micronations -- going into their histories, personalities, and political intrigues (where applicable), as well as such travel-guide staples as things-to-do, driving directions, shopping and dining options, and accommodations (again, where applicable) -- with shorter boxed texts highlighting broader movements (Cascadian independence, mad Aussies, off-world colonies), topics of interest to micronationals (issuing stamps), and tidbits on micronations/micronationals that either can't sustain a fuller article (but whose presence is none the less welcome) or would require an entire book to do them true justice (Emperor Norton). The writing is light-hearted and entertaining while still being respectful of the subjects.

The micronations are divided into three loose chapters: "Serious Business", which includes those nations with compelling claims of legitimacy within the rules of the Establishment (or, barring that, their own television series); "My Backyard, My Nation", which mostly includes those who have exercised their Natural Right to seceded from their previous governments and plot their own destinies (here you would find Cascadia); and "Grand Dreams", for those nations fighting righteous causes in the face of Establishment opposition.

It's difficult to review a book like this beyond what I've already done since its topic is rather scatter-shot by nature and it can't really be judged on its practical utility as an actual travel guide (how many tourists can fit in Danny Wallace's Lovely apartment anyway?), so I'll just leave you with a smattering of the micronations included to whet your appetite:

  • Sealand, which has gotten a lot of mainstream press in years past (and continues to do so), is of course covered (it's the very first article).
  • The Republic of Molossia, an island nation adrift in a sea of Nevada whose currency is pegged to the price of Pillsbury cookie dough. They recently annexed some wetlands near Mexico.
  • The Principality of Trumania is sort of Cascadia's version of San Marino, located in the Puget Sound on Vashon Island (home of the bicycle-eating tree and the first modern incident involving a UFO and the Men in Black).
  • Whangamomona seceded from New Zealand in 1989 after a dispute over rugby league redistricting. Its most cherished former leader was a goat named Billy (or "Gumboots" to his inner circle of friends) whom some believe was assassinated.
  • The Republic of Kugelmugel consists of a 7.68m diameter wooden sphere covered in zinc-sheet that originally appeared in a vision to artist Edwin Lipburger. Tragically, control of this surface-area-minimizing nation was wrest away from Edwin when it was invaded and annexed by Austria -- if only he had covered it in aluminum!
Lyle Zapato

Two Bad Ideas

Lyle Zapato | 2007-01-25.2416 LMT | Aluminum | Monorail Danger

Walter emailed me two bad ideas (not his)...

Brandon Flowers of the RIAA-approved music group The Killers is promoting a bad idea in an upcoming music video:

Dual Headed AFDB

While building an AFDB using a hardhat substrate is a valid, if somewhat harder to hide, method of beanie construction, connecting two of them together with an aluminumized tube that will allow psychotronic energies to be transmitted back and forth between two wearers is strongly unadvised. Yes, it will still protect you from most mind control, but do you really want some strange little Japanese kid piping his thoughts directly into your brain, nullifying your individual brain patterns and turning you both into a two-person hive-mind obsessed with Ultraman and sexual ambiguity? Try again, Brandon.

The next bad idea is from Mass Tram America, Inc. and is called The Highway In The Sky:

Highway in the Sky

They propose taking old Boeing 7x7 fuselages stripped of wings and tail fins, attaching them below monorail tracks hung from suspension cables on towers, and powering the whole system with solar cells and wind turbines. Even by monorail standards this is just daft. What happens when it bursts into flames and the cables melt? At least with traditional above-rail monorails the pedestrians below need only fear flying debris. When this system fails, the whole train will plummet to the ground like a streamlined bomb. And with no control surfaces, there's no way for the monorail captain to steer the flaming mass away from the innocents on the roads over which they propose to build these things. Try again, Mass Tram America, Inc. (perhaps by putting the repurposed fuselages safely inside tubes).

Lyle Zapato

Get Fuzzynoid

Lyle Zapato | 2006-06-24.7610 LMT | Belgian Conspiracy

Get Fuzzy, 2006-06-20

Darby Conley is at it again.

First he slipped the truth about Belgium (IT DOESN'T EXIST) into his Get Fuzzy comic, using the subversive technique of having his dim-witted character Satchel spurt it out, thereby providing plausible deniability should the NWO-aligned United Feature Syndicate bring him before their Star Chamber for questioning.

Next he raised awareness of AFDBs through his cat character Bucky, again deflecting the Syndicate's ire by showing an obviously flawed beanie design and having Bucky claim the hat was not for mind-control protection, but auguring.

This week's strips are devoted to Bucky's claim that England doesn't exist. This is, of course, not true. However, since Bucky usually has things partly right, but with the facts mixed up, it must be true that there exists a country that doesn't really exist -- Bucky has simply gotten the country wrong.

Conley has established that Satchel speaks the truth, even if unwittingly, while Bucky is an unreliable source of details who often expounds on topics where he has confused the subjects within the topic or with those of some other unrelated topic. They play the classical archetypal roles of the Wise-Fool and the Loud-Mouthed-Jerk, respectively.

I believe that Conley, having first planted the idea that Belgium is not altogether real in the heads of his orthonoidic readers, is now validating that idea through Bucky's confused version of reality (after waiting a year so the Syndicate won't notice).

Not since The Family Circus exposed the existence of transdimensional Shadow People (represented by Bil Keane as the "Not Me") has a comic strip done so much to further the cause of paranoia.

Radical Sasquatch

HOWL: THE TRUTH ABOUT GOLF!!!

Radical Sasquatch | 2006-03-07.1750 LMT | Sasquatch Issues

Human media reports that Human golfer TIGER WOODS uses a "SasQuatch" driver! Well, that's very nice and patronizing, MR. HUMAN, but how come NO HOMINOIDS ARE ALLOWED TO PLAY IN PROFESSIONAL TOURNAMENTS OR EVEN USE PUBLIC GOLF COURSES!?! Peer out of the forests onto any green and all you will see is HAIRLESS HUMANS!!! FUZZY ZOELLER wasn't very fuzzy, WAS HE!?!

What makes this situation even more of an INTOLERABLE ACT OF ANTI-HOMINOID DISCRIMINATION is the fact -- well known to everyone but IGNORANT HUMANS -- that GOLF WAS INVENTED BY HOMINOIDS!!!

Greymen -- known in Scots-howl as AM FEAR LIATH MÒR!!! -- have been hitting boulders into haggis holes with pinewood logs in the CAIRNGORM MOUNTAINS of Scotland since before you Humans were PAINTING YOURSELVES BLUE AND SQUEAKING ABOUT FREEDOM!!!

Humans took our sport -- no, our CULTURAL HERITAGE!!! -- and turned it into a joke! Hominoids would never wear POOFY PANTS and FLOPPY HATS WITH POM-POMS while playing golf! Traditional Hominoid golf should be PANTSLESS with optional DIGNIFIED TOP HAT!!! And what is the deal with the TINY, DIMPLED BALLS!?! Can you not hit a boulder 1000 yards?! What am I howling... OF COURSE YOU CAN'T!!!

But it is not enough to pervert our heritage, Humans want to DENY THAT IT IS OURS!!! The PGA, the INTERNATIONAL GOLF FEDERATION, and other Human secret societies bent on turning golf into a "Humans only" sport, have been involved for many years in a GLOBAL CONSPIRACY to deny the HISTORICAL FACT of golf's Hominoid origins, going as far as to ridiculously claim traditional Greymen fairways as "glacial formations"! THOSE ARE IMPACT DIVOTS, YOU CREDULOUS HUMANS!!!

Human golfers wanting to keep the game to themselves are also promulgating the LIE that Greymen golfers DON'T EXIST AT ALL -- that they are merely something called a "BROCKEN SPECTRE"! GREYMEN GOLFERS ARE NOT SHADOWS!!! They are flesh and blood athletes who simply want a chance at LUCRATIVE ENDORSEMENT DEALS!!!

HUMAN GOLF OFFICIATING BODIES, HEAR MY HOWL: Stop claiming that HOMINOIDS ARE OPTICAL ILLUSIONS and LET US PLAY!!!

Lyle Zapato

Aluminum Foil Deflector Bucky

Lyle Zapato | 2006-02-19.8320 LMT | Aluminum | Mind Control

'Get Fuzzy' 2006-02-19, copyright Darby Conley

I was perhaps too hasty when I implied Darby Conley was helping the Belgium Conspiracy with reverse psychology (the comic linked to in that post is now missing -- if anyone has a copy of the panel where Satchel reveals the truth that Belgium doesn't exist, please send me a scan.)

With today's comic, I now believe that Darby is in fact a double agent slyly introducing key paranoid concepts in ways that his handlers at the NWO-controlled Syndicate will find unobjectionable. By cleverly disguising an AFDB as a mere prognosticap, the Syndicate will think that Darby is mocking beanie usage, while the actual effect of the mocking is to subtly hint at the true purpose of Bucky's hat.

There are, however, problems with Bucky's design:

Bucky Katt, copyright Darby Conley

While the Quaker-style cylindrical deflection manifold will offer a maximum of lateral diffusion, the top is shown unfoiled, allowing satellites and UFOs unrestricted access to the wearer's brain. Also, the pointy end of the coat hanger could puncture the foil surface as it bobs with the weight of the star, leading to catastrophic beanie failure. Presumably Darby included these design flaws to deflect the Syndicate from his true agenda. Budding paranoids, it's hoped, will copy the spirit of Bucky's hat and not his exact design.

(P.S. No one tell the Syndicate that Darby's working for us.)

UPDATE 2006-06-24: More on Conley's paranoia propagation...

Lyle Zapato

Giantology Revisited

Lyle Zapato | 2006-01-07.9905 LMT

Strange Magazine has an article titled "A Game With The Forteans" about the viral ad campaign for the videogame Shadow of the Colossus that I wrote about in October.

It notes that a press release sent to Strange after my post had the hidden TBWA\Chiat\Day reference replaced and wonders if the viral advertisers read my blog. They probably did, since there was a link to my site on the Giantology blog's sidebar under "Forteana" that disappeared shortly after I posted that entry.

I have since played Shadow of the Colossus. While it's a good game, it is not a realistic megacide simulator. I cannot recommend it for training Cascadians to battle the forces of Federalist Canada as it's unlikely that any of the McLuhanator series will have their damage-points highlighted by glowing mandalas for easy stabbing. For the time being, continue training on the rock walls at REI.

Lyle Zapato

Belgian Orientation Film In Celebration

Lyle Zapato | 2005-12-06.4320 LMT | Belgian Conspiracy | Letters

A paranoid operative deep under cover inside the Disney-controlled "town" of Celebration, Florida (name withheld to protect them from the wrath of Town Hall) forwards this not-really-shocking-at-all notice that was handed out to Cast Citizens:

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, a film crew from Belgium will be filming a show titled "How to Start Your Own Country" throughout the day in Celebration. This project has been authorized by Town Hall, and a representative from Town Hall will be present at all times.

My guess is they are creating a new orientation film for those working behind the scenes at the Belgian Conspiracy -- a replacement for their older one:

Film frame
Belgian Conspiracy orientation film frame, smuggled out of Disney-controlled ABC.
Lyle Zapato

Edison's Conquest of Mars

Lyle Zapato | 2005-11-14.5800 LMT | Kelviniana | Technology | Retro

As previously mentioned, Edison's Conquest of Mars by Garrett P. Serviss is an unauthorized 1898 sequel to H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Unauthorized by Wells, that is. It was authorized by Thomas A. Edison, and the story reads like an Edison promotional vehicle (which it essentially was):


Edison reveals his inventions to the assembled leaders of Earth, including the insufferable Kaiser Wilhelm -- curse his handlebar moustache!

Read more...

Radical Sasquatch

HOWL: BIGFOOT AND WILDBOY!!!

Radical Sasquatch | 2005-11-02.8300 LMT | Sasquatch Issues

BIGFOOT USES HIS MIGHTY JUMPING ABILITIES TO DEFEAT EVIL!!!

Out of the dark ages of Sasquatch/Human relations that Humans call the "SEVENTIES" comes a Human television show that teaches that the Sasquatch and Human of Cascadia can work together to fight the FORCES OF EVIL!!!

It was called BIGFOOT AND WILDBOY!!!

Wildboy was a young Human child who was lost in the vast wilderness and saved by Bigfoot! Bigfoot raised him and together they battled for justice against POLUTION, WEREWOLVES, SLEESTACKS, PARA­TERREST­RIALS, and OUTLAW SAS­QUATCH!!! Every episode Bigfoot would use his ability to JUMP A VERY GREAT DISTANCE and THROW BOULDERS to save the day! Sometimes he would throw Wildboy at the enemy as a distraction! It is also the only Human television series to feature actual SASQUATCH HOWL!!!

BIGFOOT (PLAYED BY SMALLFOOT HUMAN)
HUMAN CHILDREN: BIGFOOT WILL SAVE YOU!!!

THE SHOW WAS NOT WITHOUT ITS FLAWS!!! Besides the OFFEN­SIVE, FOOT-SIZE-OBSESSIVE NAME, Big­foot was played by a puny Human and was portrayed as a SIDEKICK FOR WILDBOY!!! This was typical of the time, with CHEWBACCA THE WOOKIE as a sidekick for Space-Humans and the untrustworthy BIONIC BIGFOOT working for the PARA­TERREST­RIALS against Bionic Humans!

HUMANS HEAR MY HOWL: Only when you accept Sasquatch as CO-EQUAL PARTNERS IN THE BATTLE AGAINST EVIL will we be victorious!

Download the Bigfoot & Wildboy Title Theme (92KIO MP3!!!) It has the FUNKY BASS and GRATUITOUS EXPLOSIONS that typifies Human howl accompaniment of that era! Also, Human howlers called the Nick Atoms have a cover version for download!

UPDATE!!! Watch the BIGFOOT AND WILDBOY INTRO on the YOU TUBES!!!

Lyle Zapato

Viral Marketing And Microsoft Word

Lyle Zapato | 2005-10-22.2300 LMT | Letters | General Paranoia

Perhaps by now you've seen the blog with the video of the giant uncovered by the tsunami?

Back on the 12th I received an email from someone claiming to be the publicist for Eric Belson, the owner of the above blog, who claimed to be writing a book on the mythology of giants. The publicist asked if I would run the tsunami giant footage on my site. The email had attached a press release in MS Word format breathlessly announcing the release of the video. Opening the doc up in a regular text editor revealed that it was created by someone working for TBWA\Chiat\Day, a large advertising agency used by Sony and known to engage in viral marketing.

The general consensus, based on the content of the video and others since released on the blog, is that it's all a viral ad for a Playstation megacide simulator called Shadow of the Colossus. So here's further confirmation, albeit somewhat late.

It also confirms the dangers of Microsoft Word. This is why True Paranoids write their duplicitous press releases using hex editors.

(When I received it, I emailed the publicist back asking if she worked for TBWA\Chiat\Day, but she never responded. If I had made the connection with the game then, I would have tried to finagle a free copy out of them -- no doubt a useful training aid for my eventual final showdown with the forces of Federalist Canada -- but it's obviously too late for that now. Oh well. Anyway, thanks for linking to my site, guys... although it should be "Zapato Productions intradimensional" not just "intradimensional" -- hey, I was nice enough to humor your ridiculously backslash-cobbled name, allow me my titular extravagancies.)