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Lyle Zapato

Unauthorized Links Cost Companies Billions

Lyle Zapato | 2004-11-30.6000 LMT | Complaints Department | Letters

Yesterday, I received the following email (details excised, since I don't want to unleash a mob of torch-wielding cybervigilantes on the parties involved):

Lyle, I am writing to you from [company name] regarding a link that you have to us from your site Zapatopi.net. Listed as a [name of product they sell] site on your links page. Realizing that this link does not help either one of us we are asking that you please remove [company URL] from your site.

(This was from someone who doesn't actually work at the company in question, but for some agency hired to promote them or handle their Internet presence or something of that nature.)

My response, again excised of details, was:

I'm sorry, and I don't want to be an argumentative jerk, but that request is just silly and pointless.

A link is a reference to a site and does not imply any sort of relationship. I even put a disclaimer to that effect at the bottom of the page, even though it's common knowledge, since someone else got all worked up over a link there before (it was this guy: http://www.stopabductions.com/ who wraps his head in Velostat to keep the aliens from abducting him; wonderful company you're keeping, huh?)

Asking me to not link to your company is equivalent to asking me to not talk or write about it. If I were writing an article for a print publication about [making things with product] and I added "You can buy [product] from [company name and business address]", would you really think it sensible to contact the publisher and request that the article be altered in future editions so as not to mention you? Doesn't that sound just a bit... paranoid?

Furthermore, considering the reference I am making is to simply point people toward a source for [product], without commenting on [company] itself, I have a hard time seeing why this would not be of help to you. While it's very probable that no one has bought any [product] from you as a result of being directed to your site from mine (it is after all one link buried among many), I can't imagine who would be dissuaded from buying any because I linked to it. And even if I were to try and imagine such a hypothetical weirdo, the former is an immensely more likely scenario than the later and I'm only left to conclude that on average the link would be more help than harm.

All that being said, I'm not wedded to your company, since I chose it merely because it came up on a Google search for "[product]" at the time, and would be willing to substitute the link to another source of [product]. As it says on your website "[company is one of only three that make product in the US]" If you will provide me the name and URL of your two competitors, I'll go ahead and link to them instead and advise all AFDB users to shop there and avoid [company] and its products (without linking to you, of course).

Lyle Zapato
(I request that you don't utter my name aloud.)

To which was replied:

Thanks for your response, and no, of course you're not an "argumentative jerk" We recently learned though, and would share this info with you, that the request is not "just silly and pointless." It's actually costly. It has become a new and unexpected issue for us. I'll explain. International industry standards for some manufacturing companies DEMAND that companies respond to any and all messages, even if they are not relevant to their busimess [Freudian slip? Just kidding.] AND DEMAND they do it with a certain set of protocols (we'd call them a "pain"). This activity, I've been told takes a lot of time and costs companies money; if it is relevant and a possible prospect, it's certianly worth it. Otherwise...well, you know...

Curiously enough, while we spend a good deal of time on search engine optimization so that others can find us. For some, we even pay to have listings, and we try to encourage cross alliances and listings of websites, for some clients it backfires. Honestly, very few extraneous visitors come to their site because of yours. This has just become a bit of an issue...one they'd like to avoid.

Of course, when someone does want [list of products company offers], we welcome the query! That's all.

We did enjoy our visit you your site. Good Luck with it. [name withheld]

So there you have it... PEOPLE OF THE INTERNET: Remove all links to companies that have not had their marketing agents enter into cross alliances with you! You are costing businesses untold billions of dollars in expenses for replying to very few visitors that they are DEMANDED to respond to. Or something.

(P.S. I have changed the link to a Chinese supplier of [product], who have a better website anyway, albeit in Chinese. Presumably I won't be able to read the emails from their marketing agents, so I'll never know if they want me to remove their link. Out of sight, out of mind.)

Lyle Zapato

GPM #9: Broadband The FCC Cat

Lyle Zapato | 2004-11-29.9870 LMT | Government Propaganda Mascots | Letters | NWO

Broadband the FCC fat cat

Broadband is a cat who works for the US Federal Communications Commission (under Michael K. Powell, your FCC pal... wait, that was last week) at the FCC Kids Zone. Broadband teaches kids all about electronic communications and why the FCC has authority over all of them.

This communicatory omnipotence is conveyed by having Broadband explain about all sorts of things that you wouldn't normally associate with the FCC and its original mandate. For instance: How to safely unplug a USB device. Kids will learn that whenever they have questions about any form of electronic communication -- be it TV, cellphones, VoIP, email, floppy disks -- that they should turn to the FCC for guidance and governance.

Most deviously, Broadband's appearance -- a fat cat -- subtly conditions kids to find Big Media fat cats, whom the FCC are in cahoots with, cute and cuddly, thereby producing a generation of obedient IP consumers who will happily and unquestioningly accept ever more consolidation of ownership of media outlets. In addition, having a cat wear a striped FCC sweater (along with intermittent "wardrobe malfunction" witch hunts staged with the help of said fat cats) furthers the FCC's agenda to indoctrinate a fear of toppal nudity in the youth of North America in order to sell more RFID-tagged shirts, which of course need FCC approval to be sold, thereby extending the FCC's reach into your dresser drawers.

Oh, and you can email Broadband too! Here's what I wrote him:

Hi Broadband! You're my second favorite Federal government agency cat mascot after the NSA's Crypto Cat!

Why do you suffer from disfiguring facial twitches? Is your "GO" collar causing harmful electromagnetic interference? I would think you would have made sure it was in compliance with FCC rules before purchasing it.

What is Michael K. Powell like to work for? Does he give you generous holiday bonuses? Does he let you attend Council on Foreign Relations meetings? Can you get me his autograph?

Why aren't you wearing any pants? Isn't that indecent?


Your pal,

I'll update if he writes me back.

Lyle Zapato

Beanied RaLouchites Take The U-Dub

Lyle Zapato | 2004-11-23.9360 LMT | Aluminum | Mind Control | Fashion | General Paranoia
Lyle Zapato

GPM #8: Pat, Your Passport Pal

Lyle Zapato | 2004-11-22.8000 LMT | Government Propaganda Mascots

Pat, your Passport Pal

Pat, your Passport Pal works for the US Department of State under Colin Powell, your (soon to be ex-) Secretary of State Pal, where Pat teaches kids that they are not allowed to go anywhere without government approval.

You see, Pat isn't just a state issued document designed to control and monitor your travels abroad and show the government's ownership of you, he is your Pal. You like carrying him with you. You welcome his presence and wish you could bring him along everywhere -- even when traveling within your own country! People who disapprove of Pat's friends from the government occasionally asking to see Pat as you carry him around your neighborhood are meanies! Why do they hate Pat so?

Much like the infamous infant tactoprogramming tool Pat the Bunny, Pat the passport subliminally invites you touch him, to feel the texture of his faux leatherette cover, to run your fingers along his edge, enjoying the rounded corners of his pages, and, yes, to even pat him gently as he nuzzles inside your coat pocket. You know you want to.

On Pat's corner of the State Department site you can play some fun games with Pat, like guiding him through a maze to the Great Seal, matching flags to countries, or a word find game. (Can you find "PLO"? Hint: it crosses the "plo" in "diplomacy." Maybe Pat's a fan of Equidistant Letter Sequences made famous by the Bible Code.) There's also fun State Department trivia: Did you know that the first Secretary of State to travel outside the US while in office was William H. Seward, who visited the Caribbean in 1866 and met with Danish and Spanish colonial officials and the Presidents of the Dominican Republic and Haiti? Now you do! See how much fun it is to play with Pat?

Lyle Zapato

Wired Magazine Spying On ZPi

Lyle Zapato | 2004-11-22.7270 LMT | General Paranoia | Site

The December issue of Wired magazine, which is guest edited by a dripping wet James Cameron (the man behind the reverse-psychological propaganda movie called the Terminator), has plundered ZPi for story ideas. On page 046 they have an articlette entitled "When I Grow Up, I Wanna Spy on the Neighbors!" that's about Government propaganda aimed at kids using cute mascots. Sound familiar? Four sites are mentioned, two that I covered (NRO and NSA) and two (FBI and CIA) I didn't because they were too obvious and others have pointed them out in the past.

Mere coincidence, you say? Consider this: Digital hipster central Boing Boing, which includes a number of correspondents who write for Wired, posted a piece about the NRO Jr. site on Aug. 29th. They cite a piece on Joi Ito from the 28th, which in turn cites some Livejournal entry with a cut-n-pasted IM dialog linking to it on the 20th, with no further citations. My piece, which resulted from specifically looking for governmental kids sites, was posted on the 19th.

Clearly something fishy is going on here involving the upper echelons of the fashionable technorati conspiring against my blog by stealing my low-effort shtick. What's in the next issue of Wired? Xeni Jardin presents a series of slapdash artworks of people wearing foil hats? The technology behind the McLuhanator Mark XI? Push Belgium?

UPDATE: here's the online version of the Wired article.

Lyle Zapato

GPM #7: President Putin's Pals

Lyle Zapato | 2004-11-17.8550 LMT | Government Propaganda Mascots | Nature

Russian president Vladimir Putin isn't the creepy, ex-KGB technocratic spook that you might assume. Oh no! He's actually a nice guy who gets along with children -- and not just because he looks like Dobby from Harry Potter. In fact, he has his very own kids site (in Russian) called Uznay Prezidenta, where Russian kids can learn all about how their government works and what a swell guy Putin is!

The site features three cartoon kid mascots -- bespectacled Dobrinya, adventuresome Ilyusha, and touchy-feely Alenushka -- who ask Putin various questions and learn various fun Putin facts. For instance, did you know that president Putin does not have a right to allow Russia to be conquered and lose its independence and that, as the supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Russia, he is obligated to make the Russian military invincible? Fun and factual!

Here's uncle Putin's fun response (paraphrased from a Babelfish translation, caveat translator) when the kids petition him to extend school vacations as a matter of civil liberties:

Putin: I am glad that you are already ready to defend civil liberties. It is necessary to learn this from childhood. But it is still more important, and this no longer a joke, to understand what is the most important right for you now.

Ilyusha: The right to the vacations!

Putin: No. The main right of a citizen of school age is the right to growth, to study.

There's even a Putin photo album, so kids can see all the fun the president has. Like that time Putin decided to take a break from running the country and go live with the dolphins:

Putin and dolphins

Good times, good times.

Lyle Zapato

Cascadian Independence Fomentations

Lyle Zapato | 2004-11-15.2550 LMT | Cascadia | Politics | NWO | Bohemian Grove Cabal

The Oregonian has a breezy overview of the Cascadian independence movement that ranges from Ecotopia to the State of Jefferson and all points in between. (It also mentions -- since the author contacted me for an interview -- the modest-but-statistically-notable increase in Cascadia auto sticker sales starting on Nov. 2, which has consequently caused a larger increase in sales since the day the article was published... it's all a vicious circle of profit!)

Anyway, a number of people emailed me recently with Cascadia-related suggestions and questions, which I'll haphazardly address here:

Jason points out that Linus Torvalds now resides in Portland, Cascadia. This means Cascadians are in the position to control both the main closed source (Microsoft Windows) and open source (Linux) operating systems, extending Cascadian influence to most computers on the planet.

Dave, Trina, and others argue that the Bay Area should be annexed along with the coccyx of the Cascade Mountain Range now under Californian occupation. Besides folding Silicon Valley, "a technological-economic power center," into the Cascadian mix, this would give Cascadia control of the Macintosh (as well as the manufacture of Cascadia auto stickers, which are currently being outsourced to San Leandro).

However, most people who advocate Bay Area Liberation underestimate the subtle yet terrifying sway that the Bohemian Grove Cabal has over this enclave. Besides the malleability of the population as a result of the Cabal's persistent, multidecade experiment with mind control on Bay Areaers (a.k.a. Project Aquarius), they could easily repel a Sasquatch Militia attack using their contingent of giant robotic owls.

Before we can even hope to free the peoples of San Francisco and the vicinity from Federalist rule, we need to firmly establish our presence in Cascadian NoCal. Gaining the high ground of the mountains will give Sasquatch Militia boulder throwers an important tactical advantage.

Rob, who has a radio show, thinks that Chicago should become the "Hawaii of Cascadia." While this does suggest the appetizing prospect of deep dish pizza with pineapple (I haven't had breakfast yet), it raises the issue, related to the one above, of how far the Republic of Cascadia should extend.

Over the years, I have gotten emails asking that Idaho, Montana, Alberta, Alaska, the Yukon, and other adjacent territories be allowed to join Cascadia. If we allowed them to join, then of course Wyoming, Saskatchewan, the Dakotas, Nevada, Utah, etc. would all want to join too, which would result in still further territories wanting to join, and so on until everyone in the world is Cascadian. While the prospect of a globally omnipresent Republic of Cascadia may seem a desirable goal to some, I feel it diminishes the main point of the Republic of Cascadia: regional sovereignty. If in fighting far-off Federalist rule, we end up becoming a far-off Federalist ruler, then what was the point?

Of course, the Republic of Cascadia is open to strategic alliances against the NWO with Chicago Free State, Uberdakota, or the Holy Saskatchewan Empire should the peoples of those areas choose to organize themselves as such.

Doug MacDuff

Thermodynamic Law Party Defeat

Doug MacDuff | 2004-11-03.0090 LMT | Politics

My fellow Thermocrats,

I am sad to announce that I must at this time concede defeat in the race for the President of the United States of America.

I would like to thank all the people who put in their time on our campaign. You should be proud to know that your dedication and hard work have helped to lower our nation's net delta increase in Entropy by nontrivial amounts.

While we made great strides in voter turnout among young first-time voters and elderly last-time voters, we were unfortunately not able to get enough votes to surpass the lead of the Light Party in our battleground states. We did, however, manage a strong upset against both the Prohibition Party and the Christian Falangist Party -- proving once again the relevancy of our Make Sense Solutions™.

I will now return to the ancestral MacDuff family ranch house with my wife Dotty, our two daughters Margaret and Frances, and my campaign manager Karlos, where, after a short vacation and some Kelvinic Meditation, we will begin work on our next Presidential bid in 2008.

Nonentropically yours,
Doug MacDuff, Ph.D.,
TLP Presidential Candidate



ZPi | 2004-10-22.6570 LMT | Monorail Danger | Politics | NWO | Cascadia | Simulacra

Monorails have emerged as one of the most important issues for Cascadian voters. To help inform people on this often complicated issue, ZPi presents two contrasting view points in the ongoing Monorail debate:

Lyle Zapato

POINT: Monorails Are A Danger To Society

Lyle Zapato, Concerned Citizen

I have mentioned some of the dangers that monorails pose to both passengers and innocent bystanders in previous entries in this space, but I have only surveyed the tip of this iceberg of public endangerment.

For those not following the debate, the known dangers of monorails include: spontaneous combustion of flammable monorail components in fire-accelerating open air; mechanical debris (possibly flaming) falling or even flying off and hitting pedestrians, cars, or nearby homes and businesses; precipitous, and likely deadly, drops for inattentive monorail passengers or those trying to escape flaming cars; monorail tracks that entice children to climb and walk along them with no way of escaping should a train approach (by contrast, surface train tracks allow one to walk safely to the side); increased chance of collateral deaths from chemical or biological attacks due to lack of individual pneumatic encapsulation of passengers; and potential for runaway monorail trains -- unbuffered by pneumatic pressure -- to collide, knocking one or both trains off their rail and onto helpless people below, before bursting into flames. Again, these are just the known dangers -- we can only wonder at what other dangers monorail researchers are keeping from the public.

It's just common sense that placing tens of thousands of pounds of heavy, highly combustible machinery over people's heads while moving at speeds in excess of most surface traffic is a recipe for disaster. So why do they insist on doing it? Monorail enthusiasts imagine a Cascadia converted into some sort of "monorailtopia". They started in Seattle, and now they want to branch outward, sending their elevated tendrils into our neighborhoods with no concern for the safety of our children, senior citizens, or pets. (If dogs chase after elevated monorail trains while craning their necks upward, might they accidentally fall into open manholes and die? Has this issue even been studied properly in the rush to monorailize our nation?)

Although they don't advertise the true extent of their agenda, it is obvious that the monorail proponents' ultimate goal is to link Cascadia to Disneyland -- where Imagineers have already established a monorail hub near their Simulacra factories -- which would allow trainloads of New World Order agents to pour into our nation unchecked. We have to ask: Are the monorail proponents in league with the NWO or merely their unknowing pawns?

Seattleites have always been on the front lines of this battle to secure Cascadia from the threat of monorails. Once again they are called upon to do their patriotic duty by recalling the monorail with a vote of YES on I-83.

The Monorailist

COUNTERPOINT: Mr. Zapato's Anti-Monorail FUD

The Monorailist, Monorail Activist

I must call on Mr. Zapato to cease his anti-monorail FUD. Yes, I said it: FUD. Mr. Zapato is trying to spread Fear, Uncertainty, and, yes, even Doubt, about the most awesome and elegant method of transportation ever devised by Modern Man: the Monorail.

This technological wonder, riding a slender thread of concrete held aloft as if yearning to touch the heavens, winding its way through the metropoli of Mankind's destiny -- of Mankind's destination! What dreams may it hold? What hopes does it carry? Is Fate its captain, or is He merely lounging in the snack car? Equal parts Enlightenment and Romance, Power and Grace, Bus and Train -- uniting all paradoxes into one glorious balance and thereby transporting us to a realm where futurism collides with magical realism, reifying the very Soul of Man in the form of a streamlined metallic tube. No mere people movers are these!

Instead of acknowledging the Monorail's many technical innovations, creature comforts, and its undeniably potent aesthetic grandeur, Mr. Zapato chooses to hyperfocus on and exaggerate a few aberrant incidents that have occurred over the course of the Monorail's long and storied history -- incidents that are nearly all due to lack of maintenance as a result of anti-monorail sentiments that have been fomented by the likes of Mr. Zapato and his Pneumaticist cohorts!

You see, what the public isn't being properly informed here on this biased website is that Mr. Zapato is only against monorails because his organization has developed an "alternative" system of transportation involving pneumatic "tube pods" -- as if you could call such a gaseous pipe-dream a real alternative to the sleek, modern experience of monorails!

If we as a Society -- as a Species, as the very culmination of Life on this planet -- are to mature -- to transcend our present state of existence -- and take our place among the advanced peoples of the Galaxy -- to be born again as Star Children, eyes opening on a New Dawn -- then monorails are inevitable. Is it going too far to suggest that monorails might be the Singularity? Perhaps. But it is the logical next step in our evolution and we cannot risk not taking it. However, instead of advancing forward with the certainty fitting our eons of history, Mr. Zapato would have us retreat -- to revert to a state not unlike that of the primordial tube worms. We are better than this; we will be better than this.

I strongly urge the people of Seattle to take a bold step into our Future by voting NO on I-83. Remember: Vote NO to say YES to monorails and NO to pneumatic tubes and YES to the Transcendence of Humanity -- for Tomorrow and Forever!

Lyle Zapato

GPM #6: Captain Euro

Lyle Zapato | 2004-10-06.7900 LMT | Government Propaganda Mascots | Belgian Conspiracy | NWO

Many of you are probably wondering, "Does the Belgian Conspiracy engage in propagandistic mascottery in Europe?" Indeed it does! Case in point: Captain Euro.

Captain Euro is head of the Twelve Stars Euro Team (also a corporate-governmental mind control organization, although they don't mention that in Captain Euro's animated adventures), whose members are Europa, the archeologist/environmentalist; Erik, the mechanic/test-pilot; Helen, the lithe gymnast; Marcus, the technologist; Lupo, the vole-hunting expert; and sentient computer/hologram Pythagorus 1. They are headquartered in the Atomium Building (a famous Belgian "landmark" that the Conspiracy claims is in Brussels) and seek to unite Europe under the centralized rule of the Belgian-controlled European Union.

They're also keen to encourage everyone to exchange their currency for Euros -- no doubt to get their coin-embedded mind-control circuitry in as many pockets as possible -- and provide a handy currency calculator.

Captain Euro et al. battle a group, known as the Global Touring Circus, that includes four goateed villains; a human cannonball who knows ventriloquism; a fashion model/mistress of disguise; and an evil, rum-drinking parrot. The leader of the GTC, Dr. D. Vider, seeks to foment independent-mindedness in the peoples of Europe and keep them from being under singular Belgium control (hence the puny name). That the GTC is a "travelling company" symbolizes the "evil" of decentralization.