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Lyle Zapato

Tree Octopus Demonstration By Ohio Students

Lyle Zapato | 2009-04-01.6970 LMT | Cephalopods

Photo: Montrose Elementary

Students from Mr. Hoover's and Mr. Kaune's fifth grade classes at Montrose Elementary in Bexley, Ohio demonstrated today in front of their school to raise awareness of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus' plight. The demonstration, while peaceful, included banners, armbands, essays, and fiery speeches on the school news show.


Lyle Zapato

An Octopus In A Saw-Mill

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

Zaidi's Sabotoss

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


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

Lyle Zapato

Squidpocalypse Now

Lyle Zapato | 2008-12-05.9845 LMT | Cephalopods | General Paranoia | 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.

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Rove & Roosevelt, Contrasting Philatelists

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

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?

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

Y.R. Tap Comic #7

Lyle Zapato | 2008-10-24.6160 LMT | Government Propaganda Mascots | Art
Radical Sasquatch


Radical Sasquatch | 2008-07-19.5600 LMT | Sasquatch Issues | Paraterrestrials

Human STEVE BASS has written an ATTACK PIECE titled "IS BIGFOOT AN ALIEN!?!" Unable to deny our existence, Humans are now trying to CLAIM WE AREN'T FROM HERE!!! This is just part of their ploy to DEPORT US FROM OUR HOMELAND and STEAL OUR FORESTS!!! Listen to how he justifies this claim:

The Sasquatch has many commonalities with Extraterrestrials. Both Sasquatch and Extraterrestrials are unlike anything we have ever known ... Both display clear signs of intelligence ... Both are incredibly elusive.

THAT is his evidence?! First of all, THREE THINGS ARE NOT MANY!!! Second, we are not unlike anything Humans have ever known since Humans are merely DEGRADED SASQUATCH!!! Third, WHY IS INTELLIGENCE A SIGN OF BEING AN ALIEN!?! Are Humans so CONCEITED that they can't imagine that any of the rest of us Earthlings have the capacity for thought?! DON'T THINK YOU'RE SO SPECIAL!!! Fourth, TREE OCTOPUS are elusive too! Does STEVE BASS claim that THEY ARE ALSO ALIENS!?! And it gets WORSE, as he goes on to BLAME THE VICTIM:

The Sasquatch tends to remain concealed when near Humans, and has sometimes been known to harass hikers, campers, and Bigfoot researchers in various ways, like throwing rocks at them. No physical remains of the elusive Sasquatch have ever been recovered and no living Sasquatch has allowed itself to be captured.

Oh, sure, SASQUATCH ARE THE HARASSERS!!! If someone was TRESPASSING or SQUATTING on your property, trying to CAPTURE YOU or steal your "REMAINS", taking INVASIVE PICTURES OF YOU, or FETISHIZING YOUR FEET, YOU WOULD THROW ROCKS AT THEM TOO!!! You don't see Sasquatch going around proclaiming themselves "HUMAN RESEARCHERS" and prying into your PRIVATE BUSINESS!!! WE HONESTLY DON'T CARE WHAT YOU PIPSQUEAKS DO, AS LONG AS YOU LEAVE US BE!!! And we remain concealed when you come around because you're OBNOXIOUS JERKS!!!

Next he claims that at SOME HUMAN RANCH in UTAH, Sasquatch and UFOs are both seen:

Sightings of a creature closely resembling the Sasquatch was also observed and monitored at the ranch. Both Extraterrestrials and the Sasquatch were observed appearing through portals in the air. Witnesses have reported that they have sometimes had glimpses through the portals of landscapes different than that in which the witness stood, appearing almost alien in origin.

I don't know what LICHEN he's snorting, but I WANT SOME!!! AIR PORTALS TO ALIEN LANDSCAPES!!! That's more RIDICULOUS than that CRAZY HUMAN who thinks she can TELEPATHICALLY COMMUNICATE with us! First we're SPIRIT GUIDES, now we're ALIENS!!! What will we be next?! ANDROIDS!?!

Is Sasquatch also an alien entity, an Extraterrestrial? Is it considered wildlife from another planet or dimension? Is it a "pet" of Extraterrestrials, being "let out to exercise", much the same way Humans allow their pet dogs and cats out at night?

Again I howl: SASQUATCH ARE NOT ALIENS!!! Nor are we the "PETS" OF ALIENS!!! We are Hominoids! Nobody "LET" us out here! We were here before you! This is OUR LAND!!!

If anything, HUMANS ARE ALIENS!!! Consider the many commonalities: You're both SMALL, physically WEAK, deficient in BODY HAIR, and A PAIN IN THE ASS!!!

Lyle Zapato

"Belgium Does Not Exist" Say "Belgians"

Lyle Zapato | 2007-09-17.8010 LMT | Belgian Conspiracy | NWO

The TRUTH about Belgium is making headlines -- or is it?

On the eve of 100 days of not having a proper government since the country's general election, Belgium appears to be on the brink of division as so-called "Flemings" demand autonomy from so-called "Walloons" -- a recently released poll claims 43% support for succession in Flanders; debates rage in the mainstream press about the current "Belgian Crisis"; even regular "Belgians" are beginning to voice doubt (mediated through the Media, of course) about the existence of "Belgium":

Willy the florist has had enough of his kingdom. He is an unwilling subject of an unloved country. A middle-class father of 12-year-old twins running a thriving flower business in this small Dutch-speaking town on the eastern fringe of Brussels, Willy is reduced to obscene gesturing by the very mention of his country.

"Belgium?" he splutters. "That's something that doesn't exist. The national anthem? Nobody knows it. Nobody can sing it. The king? A parvenu. A dysfunctional family. We're not going to take it any more."

And it's not just angry florists speaking out; even the prime minister designate has said that Belgians have nothing in common except "the king, the football team, some beers" (of course he still keeps up the pretense that Belgium was an "accident of history" and not a carefully plotted conspiracy by a faction of the NWO who wanted to bring all of Europe under their Bureaucratic regime.) The "Crisis" is even forcing the King to get up before noon and go to work!

But does all this really mean that the Belgian Conspiracy is losing control of its fabricated nation, that the citizen nodes are waking up from their Atomium cyberdreams to the reality of their false identities, that the TRUTH about Belgium is finally being revealed? Sadly, I think not.

As I reported last year, the Conspiracy has been testing the waters with separatism in preparation for a new server and vault location in China, to which roughly half of the population of kidnapped "Belgians" will be transferred. The need for this move has become increasingly dire as more and more "citizens" succumb to the black mold that has made parts of the pod vault under Euro-Disneyland uninhabitable.

The current public brouhaha that we are seeing is all a performance intentionally contrived by the Conspiracy for two purposes: 1) it sets the stage for the eventual split of the Brussels Beast's organic processing clusters to two separate locations by providing a explanation within the context of their false narrative for any resulting changes in server connectivity performance, and 2) it allows the Conspiracy to undermine those of us working to expose the TRUTH about Belgium by tying in the public mind the phrase "Belgium does not exist" to esoteric political differences as opposed to the literal, geographic TRUTH that it should represent.

Meanwhile, someone within the Belgian Simulation put the "country" up for sale on EBay for a mere 10 million Euros (the King and his court included for free). However, EBay quickly put a stop to the sale. Interestingly, Ebay spokesman Peter Burin unintentionally let the TRUTH slip when he said that EBay "could not host the sale of anything virtual or 'unrealistic'", both of which certainly describe Belgium.

Lyle Zapato

"Space Sonja and Monorails"

Lyle Zapato | 2007-08-15.6177 LMT | Monorail Danger | Technology | Letters
Goodspaceguy Nelson

Seattleite Goodspaceguy Nelson is a politician with a very forward-looking agenda: he wants humanity to colonize orbital space. Besides being his passion, orbital colonization was the major platform plank in his unsuccessful 2006 bid for US Senate.

Now that Goodspaceguy is running for King County Council, he has apparently had to put aside that big dream for the time being (there's only so much a Councilman can do in the arena of space colonization, after all,) and is instead focusing on removing restrictions on building height so the people of King County can live in "beautiful, high density communities filled with sky homes" -- slyly encouraging citizens to take baby steps into orbital space.

Intrigued by his bold vision of an orbital future, I wondered what he thought of that other ostensibly futuristic vision that has gripped the region since 1910: the monorail. While monorail fever has become somewhat dormant as of late, there's always the threat that it may flare up again (figuratively and literally) and as a Councilman he may have to address the monorail issue.

I emailed him and the other two contenders for the District No. 8 race to see what are their official positions on monorails. John Potter (R) and Dow Constantine (whom Nelson is running against in the Democratic primary) never bothered to respond, not even with a form letter.

However, Goodspaceguy not only responded, he responded with a fragment-of-fiction, titled "Life in the Colony: Space Sonja and Monorails". Set in the Boeing Blue District of the orbiting space colony at the dawn of orbital colonization, it comprises a Socratic dialog between himself, as a newly elected colony councilor, and Sonja, a "state approved, professional tease" who does performances imitating the spirit of Cher:

To prove that she had been reading, Sonja asked, "When our Boeing orbiting space colony becomes really, really large, do you think that our descendants ... of both we, the current space colonists, and of the new colonists still to be sent up by Boeing and Microsoft and the other space companies of King County ... I mean, do you think they will build space monorails or will they continue to float and glide themselves and their equipment through the zero gravity of space, as we do now?"

Goodspaceguy's position is that monorails are not cost-effective: "To be profitable, monorails require a huge number of people who use them regularly and around the clock ... The government transit systems turn out to be real money losers. The tax payers end up paying for the loss." Instead, as I mentioned above, he proposes high density communities and "24 hour, never-stop, go-go cities" that would get rid of rush hours. As to monorails in the orbital colonies (which I asked him about) he downplays them (and presumably other forms of transit) and suggests that colonists should get exercise by walking in "gravity corridors" to compensate for all their time floating weightlessly.

At the end he includes a poem which sums up his position on monorails nicely:

Monorails, Like Sonja, Can Be Fun!

by Goodspaceguy

Bodaciously beautiful call girls
Are expensively fun like monorails,
But Sonja finds that many would-be riders
Are without sufficient money pails!

The would-be-riders ask, "Oh, who will
Pay for our fun and frenzied riding times?"
Look to the sleeping tax payers. Their pockets
Are filled with dollars and dimes."

Some taxpayers shout, "Please, please stop.
Our dollars and dimes will not be enough!
Let us avoid frenzied transit monorails,
Paying for transit trips will be too tough."

Let us build more homes up in our sky,
And continue to walk under our Sun.
We want sky homes near our work, but we agree
That monorails, like Sonja, would be fun!

Bodaciously beautiful call girls
Are expensively fun like monorails,
But Sonja finds that many would-be riders
Are without sufficient money pails!

(While he may get flack from some for the subject matter, the correspondence of monorails to prostitutes is not undocumented.)

Given his sensible position on monorails (and the rude non-response of his opponents,) we here at ZPi are proud to endorse Goodspaceguy Nelson for King County Council to the people of District 8. I look forward to the day when the mile-high and monorail-free condos of Cascadia are serenaded from orbit with Cher's "Believe."

UPDATE (2006-08-26): Sad to report that Goodspaceguy Nelson lost the Democratic primary to water-taxi proponent Dow Constantine, 8.89% to 90.84%. Just more proof of the inordinate sway that the powerful Water Taxi Lobby holds over the primaries. Remember King Countyites, you can still write-in Goodspaceguy in the general election.

Lyle Zapato

GPM #22: Yucca Mountain Johnny

Lyle Zapato | 2007-06-26.0940 LMT | Government Propaganda Mascots
Yucca Mountain Johnny

Yucca Mountain Johnny is a blue-collar worker at the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository project in Nevada. At his "Yucca Mountain Youth Zone", Johnny just wants to teach the youths about nuclear physics, hydrology, and engineering, while dispelling myths about the repository (such as the nuclear waste could explode or that the facility is really a military base for the NWO's fungoid allies).

But now the mean, ol' Congress wants to silence Yucca Mountain Johnny:

A measure by Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., to cut off funding for the Energy Department's Yucca Mountain Youth Zone Web site that's home to the smiling, hard-hatted cartoon character was approved by lawmakers by a voice vote and without debate.


"Regardless of how you feel about Yucca Mountain, we should all agree that the Department of Energy's use of a Joe Camel look-alike to influence children is an inappropriate use of taxpayer money," [Berkley] wrote [in a letter to colleagues].

Could this move portend trouble for the hundreds of other Propaganda Mascots serving the US Government? Thanks to a 1997 mandate by President Clinton, nearly every US government agency's website has a kids' section, many with "Joe Camel look-alikes" influencing children in various ways. Are they all in jeopardy of becoming pawns in political fights?

Will Congress investigate the Crypto Kids for their role in domestic spying? Will hip-hopping health-advocate Power Panther be forced to resign when it's revealed he took part in illegal covert counterintelligence programs aimed at black nationalists during the '70s? Will secretive monkey energy scientist Dr. E be subpoenaed before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and forced to explain exactly what he is doing with taxpayer money on his mysterious island? And just how will parents explain to their little children why Pat, their passport pal, can no longer be their pal since he's serving thirty months in a federal prison for leaking state secrets? Is this the beginning of the end of innocence for government propaganda aimed at children?

There's still hope for Yucca Mountain Johnny. Berkley's amendment has to make it past the Senate and President Bush, who, as a big Bob the Builder fan, is expected to veto. But if the veto is overridden and Yucca Mountain Johnny looses his cushy government job, he -- and other future ousted GPMs -- will be forced to find propaganda work in the private sector. Perhaps there's a car loan company in the market for a construction worker mascot who knows a lot about long-term thermal-hydrological-mechanical transport of radionuclides in fractured volcanic tuffs with varying degrees of welding.

(Via Bulldada Newsblog.)

UPDATE 2015-01-03: Cracked recently linked here from a listicle about disturbing mascots. Since I originally posted this, Yucca Mountain Johnny's enemies were successful and his Youth Zone -- along with the entire Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management subsection on the DOE.gov site -- was taken down. I've replaced the link to the Zone above with a mirror on archive.com. Also, the Bulldada Newsblog is now bulldada-free and all about cast iron cooking.

For those disturbed by the mercurial nature of the Internet, rest assured that ZPi will never change. It will always be the late '90s here. Trust no one and keep mmmbopping.