Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jurassic Mammal

From National Geographic:

A tiny, shrew-like creature of the dinosaur era might have been, in a sense, the mother of us all.

Named the "Jurassic mother from China" (Juramaia sinensis), the newfound fossil species is the earliest known ancestor of placental mammals—animals, such as humans, that give birth to relatively mature, live young—according to a new study.

The 160-million-year-old specimen pushes back fossil evidence for the evolutionary split between the placental and marsupial lineages by 35 million years. Although it's unclear if the creature is a direct ancestor of modern placentals, it's "either a great grand-aunt or a great grandmother," the study authors say.

Placentals—including creatures from mice to whales—are all that remain of the so-called eutherian mammals, of which J. sinensis is the oldest known specimen.

The first eutherians evolved from the ancestors of marsupials, which have pouches and give birth to comparatively immature offspring...

Dino-era Mammal the "Jurassic Mother" of Us All?
John Roach
August 24, 2011

Killer Aliens

From The London Guardian:

Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.

Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa's Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity "prepare for actual contact".

In their report, Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis, the researchers divide alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.

Beneficial encounters ranged from the mere detection of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), for example through the interception of alien broadcasts, to contact with cooperative organisms that help us advance our knowledge and solve global problems such as hunger, poverty and disease.

Another beneficial outcome the authors entertain sees humanity triumph over a more powerful alien aggressor, or even being saved by a second group of ETs. "In these scenarios, humanity benefits not only from the major moral victory of having defeated a daunting rival, but also from the opportunity to reverse-engineer ETI technology," the authors write.

Other kinds of close encounter may be less rewarding and leave much of human society feeling indifferent towards alien life. The extraterrestrials may be too different from us to communicate with usefully. They might invite humanity to join the "Galactic Club" only for the entry requirements to be too bureaucratic and tedious for humans to bother with. They could even become a nuisance, like the stranded, prawn-like creatures that are kept in a refugee camp in the 2009 South African movie, District 9, the report explains.

The most unappealing outcomes would arise if extraterrestrials caused harm to humanity, even if by accident. While aliens may arrive to eat, enslave or attack us, the report adds that people might also suffer from being physically crushed or by contracting diseases carried by the visitors. In especially unfortunate incidents, humanity could be wiped out when a more advanced civilisation accidentally unleashes an unfriendly artificial intelligence, or performs a catastrophic physics experiment that renders a portion of the galaxy uninhabitable.

To bolster humanity's chances of survival, the researchers call for caution in sending signals into space, and in particular warn against broadcasting information about our biological make-up, which could be used to manufacture weapons that target humans. Instead, any contact with ETs should be limited to mathematical discourse "until we have a better idea of the type of ETI we are dealing with."

The authors warn that extraterrestrials may be wary of civilisations that expand very rapidly, as these may be prone to destroy other life as they grow, just as humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth. In the most extreme scenario, aliens might choose to destroy humanity to protect other civilisations...

Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists
Ian Sample, Science correspondent
Thursday 18 August 2011

Linking Trees’ Fibonacci Sequence to Solar Power

Linking Trees’ Fibonacci Sequence to Solar Power Wins Student A Young Naturalist Award
Friday, August 12, 2011

When 13-year-old Aidan took a winter hike through the Catskill Mountains, he noticed something spectacular about the bare trees. “I thought trees were a mess of tangled branches,” he would later recall, “But [then] I saw a pattern in the way the tree branches grew.”

Armed with a protractor, Aidan measured the angles of the branches and discovered they grew in a Fibonacci sequence—a mathematical pattern that can be observed throughout nature, from the curve of nautilus shells to the spirals of galaxies. In this famous sequence, each number is the sum of the previous two: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, continuing infinitely. Could this branch pattern help trees absorb more sunlight? Aidan’s pursuit of that question in his essay The Secret of the Fibonacci Sequence in Trees earned him a 2011 Young Naturalist Award.

To test his hypothesis, Aidan constructed a model tree based on the Fibonacci sequence of an oak, using PVC pipes as branches and PV solar panels as leaves. After testing his prototype against a flat solar panel, Aidan confirmed that trees outperformed the traditional model—in winter, by as much as 50 percent.

As it turns out, this distribution of branches minimizes the extent to which limbs shade the leaves below them. And unlike a flat solar panel—which must be mechanically readjusted to follow the Sun’s moving path—a Fibonacci-sequence tree can still absorb light when the Sun sits low in the sky. “Collecting the most sunlight is the difference between life and death,” wrote Aidan, who thinks humans can put treelike solar panel designs to use, especially in urban spaces where sunlight is scarce. He has already applied for a patent for his PV solar panel tree.

For his next project, Aidan plans on comparing the Fibonacci sequences of different trees to see if one species’ branch arrangement is more efficient than another. He knows he’ll find another secret in nature if he just keeps looking up.

The Young Naturalist Awards is a nationwide, science-based research contest for students in grades 7 through 12 presented by the Museum. To learn more and to submit your own project, visit The deadline for the 2012 contest is March 9, 2012.

The Young Naturalist Awards are proudly supported by Alcoa Foundation.

Excerpt: Basic Ways to Become a Werewolf

The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings Brad Steiger
Amazon URL:

There are two basic ways by which one might become a werewolf: voluntary and involuntary.

According to the ancient Greeks, any skilled sorcerer who so chose could become a werewolf. Throughout history, self-professed werewolves have mentioned a "magic girdle" or "magic belt," which they wear about their middles, or a "magic salve" which they apply liberally to their naked bodies. Others tell of inhaling or imbibing certain potions.

Magical texts advise those who wish to become a werewolf to disrobe, rub a magical ointment freely over their flesh, place a girdle made of human or wolf skin around their waist, then cover their entire body with the pelt of a wolf. To accelerate the process, they should drink beer mixed with blood and chant a particular magical formula.

Some werewolves claim to have achieved their shapeshifting ability by having drunk water from the paw print of a wolf. Once this had been accomplished, they ate the brains of a wolf and slept in its lair.

One ancient text prescribes a ritual for the magician who is eager to become a shapeshifter. He is told to wait until the night of a full moon, then enter the forest at midnight. Then, according to the instructions:

Draw two concentric circles on the ground, one six feet in diameter, the other 14 feet in diameter. Build a fire in the center of the inner circle and place a tripod over the flames. Suspend from the tripod an iron pot full of water. Bring the water to a full boil and throw into the pot a handful each of aloe, hemlock, poppy seed, and nightshade. As the ingredients are being stirred in the iron pot, call aloud to the spirits of the restless dead, the spirits of the foul darkness, the spirits of the hateful, and the spirits of werewolves and satyrs.

Once the summons for the various spirits of darkness have been shouted into the night, the person who aspires to become a werewolf should strip off all of his clothing and smear his body with the fat of a freshly killed animal that has been mixed with anise, camphor, and opium. The next step is to take the wolfskin that he has brought with him, wrap it around his middle like a loincloth, then kneel down at the boundaries of the large circle and remain in that position until the fire dies out. When this happens, the power that the disciple of darkness has summoned should make its presence known to him.

If the magician has done everything correctly, the dark force will announce its presence by loud shrieks and groans. Later, if the would-be werewolf has not been terrified and frightened away by the dark one's awful screams and groans, it will materialize in any one of a number forms, most likely that of a horrible half-human, half-beast monster. Once it has manifested in whatever form it desires, the dark one force will conduct its transaction with the magician and allow him henceforth to assume the shape of a wolf whenever he wears his wolfskin loincloth.

By far the most familiar involuntary manner in which one becomes a werewolf is to be bitten or scratched by such a creature. In the same category would be those men and women who are transformed into werewolves by being cursed for their sins or by being the victim of a sorcerer's incantations.

Another involuntary means of becoming a werewolf, according to some old traditions, is to be born on Christmas Eve. The very process of one's birth on that sacred night, according to certain ecclesiastical scholars, is an act of blasphemy since it detracts from the full attention that should be given to the nativity of Jesus. Thus, those born on that night are condemned to be werewolves unless they prove themselves to be pious beyond reproach in all thoughts, words, and deeds throughout their lifetime.

Sources: Eisler, Robert. Man into Wolf. London: Spring Books, n.d. Spence, Lewis. An Encyclopedia of Occultism. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1960.

Copyright (c) 1999 Visible Ink Press

Konformist Book Club: The Werewolf Book

The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings
Brad Steiger

List Price: $19.95
Price: $13.29 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
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Publication Date: September 1, 2011

With 250 entries, this updated filmography and resource is the encyclopedic guide to all things lycanthropic and a fascinating compendium of comparative mythology and folklore. Delving into the 15th century to uncover the origins of the werewolf legend, it is an eye-opening, blood-pounding tour through the ages, landing on the doorstep of creatures like hirsute mass-murderer Albert Fish, Michael Lupo (Lupo is "wolf" in Italian), and Fritz Haarman who slaughtered and ate his victims–selling the leftovers as steaks and roasts in his butcher shop. The photos and drawings provide hair-raising evidence of strange and obsessional behavior through the centuries, and a helpful chronology of lycanthropic activities dates back 140,000 years to the first mixing of human and lupine blood. Werewolf hunters of all ages will appreciate the detailed section on slaying the beast, while potential victims will find the information on detecting and warding away the occasional wayward wolfman more to their immediate liking—if not need.

"Brad Steiger's magnum opus, a labor of deep scholarship elegantly written. As a reference source, it is invaluable for anyone interested in pursuing the werewolf."
Ancient American magazine

"From A to Z, Brad Steiger presents a true encyclopedia of werewolfism, a reference masterpiece, overflowing with fascinating information to make readers think and shudder."
Fate magazine

"It is with reverence to its awesome scope that we recommend it to anyone even marginally interested in the topic"
Rue Morgue

From the Back Cover

From movies like An American Werewolf in London to the best-selling game, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, to folklore and case histories, The Werewolf Book is the encyclopedic guide to all things lycanthropic. In this spectacular first edition, Brad Steiger takes you back to the 15th century to uncover the origins of the werewolf legend. From there he leads you on an eye-opening world tour through the ages to the modern-day monstrous duality of creatures like cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.

Does the wolf live within each of us? Learn how the legends of the werewolf can mirror the animal that exists in each and every one of us. Some have given in to these primal animal urges. Find out why. The answers lie within....

The Werewolf Book, the perfect companion to Visible Ink's best-selling Vampire Book, is the eagerly anticipated work resulting from Mr. Steiger's lifelong studies. It contains nearly 250 entries, a filmography, and a resource guide with web sites. More than 125 photographs (including 16 pages in color), ranging from folk art to movie stills, will have you hair standing on end. Shape-changing topics include:

* Classic werewolf movies
* Slaying the werewolf
* Children raised by wolves
* Serial killers
* Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde
* Incubus
* Lon Chaney, Jr.
* The Moon and Mars
* Eddie Munster and Wolfie
* Marquis de Sade
* Loup-garou and other creatures from around the world
* Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman

The Werewolf Book, Brad Steiger's homage to the beast within, provides a full moon of fact and fiction for the lycanthrophile in all of us. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author
Brad Steiger has been devoted to exploring and examining unusual, hidden, secret, and otherwise strange occurrences for nearly five decades. He is the author of numerous articles and more than 150 books on paranormal theme, including Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Houses; Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside; Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Darkside; and Real Zombies, the Living Dead, Creatures of the Apocalypse. He lives in Iowa.

Paperback: 430 pages
Publisher: Visible Ink Press; Second edition edition (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1578593670
ISBN-13: 978-1578593675

Amazon URL:

'The Secret Life of Dogs'

Full Length Documentary
Forbidden Knowledge TV
Daily videos from the edges of science

Man's Best Friend

Some scientists interviewed believe that the domestication of the dog from tame wolves was pivotal in helping humankind's transition from a hunter-gatherer to a farmer.

Archeological evidence suggests that dogs began being domesticated 100,000 years ago. Whereas science generally believes dog barks to be random, a Hungarian study discovered 6 main barks of which dog owners could easily identify their meaning.

An amazing dog featured here has learned over 300 words. In general, it is found that dogs are far better at reading and communicating with humans than are chimpanzees.

Another surprising theory is put forward: Genetically, dogs are wolves but they differ from wolves in an important way in their
behavior: Dogs are child-like in the way they relate to human beings. That is the reason we love them so much and the reason they love us back. Dogs behave like immature wolves!

This documentary is a lot of fun, especially if you're a dog lover.

Space Travel Via Baloon


A Spanish entrepreneur wants to give you a glimpse of the black expanse of space and the curvature of the earth from a most unusual vantage point — a balloon.

José Mariano López-Urdiales, the founder of zero2infinity, is offering what he calls the “near-space” experience of viewing the planet and the space beyond it from 36 km [22 miles] above the earth. He hopes to have the first passengers aloft in the near-space vehicle called a “bloon” — the company doesn’t appear to be big on capital letters — by the middle of this decade.

That altitude is a long ways from the height of more than 100 km promised by Virgin Galactic and others developing suborbital space tourism vehicles. But López-Urdiales argues the 100-km definition of space is somewhat arbitrary and the view from 36 km offers essentially the same viewing experience as higher altitudes. The bright sun is surrounded by a black sky. The curvature of the earth is clearly visible, highlighted by the electric blue of the atmosphere just above the horizon. López-Urdiales says people were enjoying this view long before there were rockets.

“The first people who described the earth as a blue ball were not in rockets,” he says. “They were flying in balloons.”

The great appeal of zero2infinity’s concept is that you’ll enjoy the view for a couple of hours, as opposed to the handful of minutes you’ll experience flying beyond the atmosphere in a rocket. And without the rumble of a rocket, the ride will be serene.

“A balloon stays for a longer time than a ballistic parabola,” López-Urdiales notes. “A suborbital vehicle is limited by the laws of ballistics and only lasts a few minutes. It can only last so long where the sky is black and the view is beautiful.”

Passengers aboard the bloon “near-space ship” will spend five to six hours on their journey, including two hours at cruise altitude with the blackness of space above them and the curvature of the earth below.

López-Urdiales is an MIT-educated aerospace engineer who spent several years in the rocket industry, including stints at Boeing and the European Space Agency. In 2000, before Dennis Tito made the first space tourism flight, López-Urdiales first came up with the idea of using a balloon to take people high enough to enjoy a space-like view of the earth. He knew balloons had long been used to take people to high altitudes, but pioneering days of high-altitude balloon flights ended with the beginning of the rocket era. López-Urdiales points out it’s probably not a coincidence that the highest piloted flight in a balloon, 34.7 km, occurred in 1961, the same year Yuri Gagarin rocketed into space...

Bloon will carry passengers in a pod suspended beneath a large helium balloon, or sail, as it is called. The pod is 4.3 meters [13 feet, 8 inches] in diameter and has room for two pilots and four passengers. It will be pressurized and comfortable enough for passengers to wear normal clothes.

The balloon will spend a few hours rising to a cruising altitude of around 36 km, where the sail will be 129 meters [423 feet] in diameter. Why 36 km? Because at that height you can see the blackness of space and the curvature of the earth. López-Urdiales likes to point out there isn’t actually a line dividing the atmosphere and space. The United States long defined space as beginning at 50 miles [80km]. Today it is defined by most as beginning at 100 km, at what is called the Kármán Line. López-Urdiales notes it is no coincidence the definition is framed by our system of counting by tens because we have ten fingers.

“Following that logic, 64 km would be the limit of space in the world of the Simpsons,” he says, noting with tongue firmly in cheek that the Simpsons have eight fingers. “Then our 36 km is the limit of space on planet Dagobah, home to Jedi Master Yoda.”

Regardless, passengers will spend a few hours cruising silently 36 km above the earth before beginning their descent. As the sail is slowly vented, the pod descends until the sail separates from the pod. A parafoil is deployed to fly the pod back to earth...

The rides won’t be cheap. López-Urdiales says the full experience will cost 110,000 Euros — about $156,000 at today’s exchange rate. That’s cheaper than Virgin Galactic tickets, which will run $200,000 for a sub-orbital ride aboard SpaceShipTwo.

“In specific per-minute price when you get to look out the window, it’s much less expensive” López-Urdiales says.

Early flights are likely to happen in Spain, where the weather is nice and the company is based. But López-Urdiales says there are several places around the world that are viable locations for an bloon journey, and he hopes to offer the experience in many countries. The way he sees it, if people simply want the experience of blasting off, they’ll look elsewhere. And he’s fine with that.

“If somebody wants a rocket, they will probably not fly with us,” he says. “But if they want the view, they probably will.”

Travel to Near-Space in a 400-Foot Diameter Balloon
Jason Paur
August 12, 2011

Battle of the Kannabis Kolas

Canna Cola V Kushtown Sodas

Canna Cola

Canna Cola is the World's Most Recognized Brand in Medical Marijuana. Providing Tasty THC Infused Carbonated Beverages for Medical Marijuana Users. Our Kick-Ass Flavors Include Orange Kush, Sour Diesel, Grape Ape, Doc Weed and Our Classic Canna Cola.

Canna Cola™ Just Say Yes™
Coming to a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Near You Soon!

Canna Cola started out with a simple goal – to create a great tasting, effective, medical marijuana beverage while simultaneously legitimizing an unjustly stigmatized industry. We felt the most effective way to achieve this was to create the first nationally recognized brand of medical marijuana edibles. And so we did, and Canna Cola was born.

Medical marijuana should not be relegated to a treatment of last resort. Dispensaries shouldn’t forced to locate in the most seedy and run down parts of town, and patients shouldn’t have to worry that they’ll get fired from their job for following a doctor’s recommendation. Medical marijuana is a legitimate choice among many options to improve your physical and mental well being. However, as we can see by our federal and state laws, even those states that allow for medical marijuana, that we continue to put marijuana in an entirely different than other medicines.

Drug stores are welcome in any neighborhood, even though most of them also sell alcohol and cigarettes. Someone can take Vicodin, Percocet and any number of highly addictive prescription drugs and they will never get fired from their job for taking their legally obtained medicine. Over-the-counter, we all have easy access to decongestants, pain killers, expectorants, sedatives, anti-inflammatories and an endless selection of pharmaceuticals concoctions. We shop for these in brightly lit neighborhood stores, free from judgment and social stigma, and take these medicines on a self regulated as-need basis.

We believe that one of the reasons for this paradox is that much of the public, and most of our legislators, still think of medical marijuana as a scary, underground activity run by drug lords and pushers. They feel it’s shameful and it should be hidden from the public. Yes, it is legal, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it or make it easy on anyone. And so they do, at every opportunity, with zoning restrictions or even outright bans.

This is of course directly connected to a mindset formulated from decades of irrational prohibition which forced honest, hard working citizens to seek their marijuana though illegal means and prevented any discussion of marijuana use from a scientific, cultural, constitutional, and economic perspective.

Compounding the prejudice is the medical marijuana industry’s own self isolation. In the medical marijuana community, the dominant idea is to run silent and deep – don’t draw attention to yourself. While this is a legitimate short term strategy, it only re-enforces the public’s perception that this is somehow “wrong”. You can’t demand to be treated as a legitimate business, yet also shroud yourself in secrecy. Your silence won’t protect you.

Canna Cola is founded on the idea that taking your medication should be a life afirming experience free from shame and stigma. The idea that taking your medicine shouldn’t be an enjoyable experience is not only cruel but counterproductive to healing and the relieving of suffering. Patients seeks out medical marijuana for various reason. Some are fighting cancer and chemotherapy leaves them too nauseous to eat. Some are wracked by muscle spasms that prevent them from working. Some are plagued by such chronic body aches that they can barely sleep. But some say these people haven’t suffered enough. They should also be required to take medicine that tastes bitter, unpleasant, and comes in a drab gray bottle.

Canna Cola believes that having a debilitating illness is more than enough burden. There is no need to add to it. Our packaging is designed to bring happiness to those who are suffering. We use bright colors and humorous, yet sophisticated graphics and names intentionally. When a patient holds our bottle we want them to smile, and when they drink it we want them to have pleasurable experience. It’s well known that the mere act of smiling boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure and releases endorphins into your system. So while laughter is not necessarily the best medicine, feeling happy is a critical part to fighting disease and recovering from illness. When a cancer patient picks up a bottle of Canna Cola to counteract the ravages of chemotherapy, it’s supposed to bring a smile to their face. Bringing joy to those who are suffering is nothing to be ashamed of and the reason we exist.

Clay Butler
President and Co-Founder

The idea that taking your medicine shouldn’t be an enjoyable experience is not only cruel but counterproductive to healing and the relieving of suffering. Patients seeks out medical marijuana for various reason. Some are fighting cancer and chemotherapy leaves them too nauseous to eat. Some are wracked by muscle spasms that prevent them from working. Some are plagued by such chronic body aches that they can barely sleep. But some say these people haven’t suffered enough. They should also be required to take medicine that tastes bitter, unpleasant, and comes in a drab gray bottle.

We believe that having a debilitating illness is more than enough burden. There is no need to add to it. Our packaging is designed to bring happiness to those who are suffering. We use bright colors and humorous, yet sophisticated graphics and names intentionally. When a patient holds our bottle we want them to smile and when they drink it we want them to have pleasurable experience. It’s well known that the mere act of smiling boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure and releases endorphins into your system. So while laughter is not necessarily the best medicine, feeling happy is a critical part to fighting disease and recovering from illness. When a cancer patient picks up a bottle of Canna Cola to counteract the ravages of chemotherapy, it’s supposed to bring a smile to their face. Bringing joy to those who are suffering is nothing to be ashamed of and the reason we exist.


We are seeking the most committed, experienced, and ambitious medical marijuana providers for exclusive bottling partnerships in all fourteen medical marijuana states. Previous bottling experience is not necessary but you must be experienced in extracts and edibles, run a clean operation, and have the working capital to launch the world’s most recognized brand of medical marijuana in your state.

Email us at


Would you like to carry Canna Cola in your dispensary?

Email us at


Would you like to have a part in conquering the world?

Email us at


We are seeking creative opportunities with well capitalized and experienced licensees and manufactures who would like to build the world’s most recognized brand of medical marijuana.

Email us at

Media inquires.

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General Email:

6120 West Tropicana, Suite A16-248
Las Vegas NV. 89103


Kushtown Sodas


In this ever changing industry; Kushtown USA is inspired to make a difference. Our purpose is to provide a healthcare alternative to a growing patient population. Based out of Santa Clarita, California; Kushtown USA has spent the last seven years dedicated to providing quality, natural products to our consumers. Our objective is simple – to make delicious products that are effective in the treatment of chronic pain.

Working in compliance with Proposition 215 and in accordance with current health and safety codes-we have infused all of our products with quality grade THC. Using low glycemic, cold pressed, food grade kosher glycerin based medication that cause our products to not only be delicious, but to also offer a stronger, longer and more physical effect.

The goal of Kushtown USA has always been to work smart and efficient. To lead in the development of edible products, to educate and to make positive long term impacts on both the industry and our communities.

Soda Flavors
Beach Fuel
Bubba’s Old Fashioned Root Beer
Bulldog Fuel
Chem Dawg’s Cherry Soda
Cherry Kushtown Kola
Cherry Lemonade Headband Soda
Grandaddy Purple Grape Soda
Granny’s Apple Soda
Empire Fuel
Humboldt County Green Tea
Humboldt’s Finest Lemon Ice Tea
Kushtown Kola
Kushtown Soda Sugarless
LA Confidential Fuel
LA Fuel
Lion Fuel
Master Kush Energy Drink
Maui Waui Punch
Orange Wreck Soda
Pineapple Express
Professor Kush
Pure Kush Energy Drink
Sactown Fuel
San Diego Fuel
San Fernando Valley Fuel
Skywalker Creme Soda
Sour DZL Fuel
Strawberry Cough Soda

Kush Shot Fruit Punch
Kush Shot Ice Tea
Kush Shot Orange

Other Products
Kushtown Gum
Kushtown BBQ Sauce
Kushtown Hot Sauce

Call for Pricing!

Northern California Representative
Harold J. Moret – (424) 200-1144

Southern California Representative
Desmond – (323) 803-0852

Kushtown products are available in your local CA collectives. If your favorite collective does not carry Kushtown products, please ask them to!

In compliance with H&S Code 11362.5
ONLY collectives or dispensaries may order from Kushtown per Prop 215 to be in compliance

Dag Hammarskjöld: evidence suggests UN chief's plane was shot down

Eyewitnesses claim a second aircraft fired at the plane raising questions of British cover-up over the 1961 crash and its causes
Julian Borger and Georgina Smith in Ndola
Wednesday 17 August 2011

New evidence has emerged in one of the most enduring mysteries of United Nations and African history, suggesting that the plane carrying the UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld was shot down over Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) 50 years ago, and the murder was covered up by British colonial authorities.

A British-run commission of inquiry blamed the crash in 1961 on pilot error and a later UN investigation largely rubber-stamped its findings. They ignored or downplayed witness testimony of villagers near the crash site which suggested foul play. The Guardian has talked to surviving witnesses who were never questioned by the official investigations and were too scared to come forward.

The residents on the western outskirts of the town of Ndola described Hammarskjöld's DC6 being shot down by a second, smaller aircraft. They say the crash site was sealed off by Northern Rhodesian security forces the next morning, hours before the wreckage was officially declared found, and they were ordered to leave the area.

The key witnesses were located and interviewed over the past three years by Göran Björkdahl, a Swedish aid worker based in Africa, who made the investigation of the Hammarskjöld mystery a personal quest since discovering his father had a fragment of the crashed DC6.

"My father was in that part of Zambia in the 70s and asking local people about what happened, and a man there, seeing that he was interested, gave him a piece of the plane. That was what got me started," Björkdahl said. When he went to work in Africa himself, he went to the site and began to question the local people systematically on what they had seen.

The investigation led Björkdahl to previously unpublished telegrams – seen by the Guardian – from the days leading up to Hammarskjöld's death on 17 September 1961, which illustrate US and British anger at an abortive UN military operation that the secretary general ordered on behalf of the Congolese government against a rebellion backed by western mining companies and mercenaries in the mineral-rich Katanga region.

Hammarskjöld was flying to Ndola for peace talks with the Katanga leadership at a meeting that the British helped arrange. The fiercely independent Swedish diplomat had, by then, enraged almost all the major powers on the security council with his support for decolonisation, but support from developing countries meant his re-election as secretary general would have been virtually guaranteed at the general assembly vote due the following year.

Björkdahl works for the Swedish international development agency, Sida, but his investigation was carried out in his own time and his report does not represent the official views of his government. However, his report echoes the scepticism about the official verdict voiced by Swedish members of the commissions of inquiry.

Björkdahl concludes that:

• Hammarskjöld's plane was almost certainly shot down by an unidentified second plane.

• The actions of the British and Northern Rhodesian officials at the scene delayed the search for the missing plane.

• The wreckage was found and sealed off by Northern Rhodesian troops and police long before its discovery was officially announced.

• The one survivor of the crash could have been saved but was allowed to die in a poorly equipped local hospital.

• At the time of his death Hammarskjöld suspected British diplomats secretly supported the Katanga rebellion and had obstructed a bid to arrange a truce.

• Days before his death, Hammarskjöld authorised a UN offensive on Katanga – codenamed Operation Morthor – despite reservations of the UN legal adviser, to the fury of the US and Britain.

The most compelling new evidence comes from witnesses who had not previously been interviewed, mostly charcoal-makers from the forest around Ndola, now in their 70s and 80s.

Dickson Mbewe, now 84, was sitting outside his house in Chifubu compound west of Ndola with a group of friends on the night of the crash.

"We saw a plane fly over Chifubu but did not pay any attention to it the first time," he told the Guardian. "When we saw it a second and third time, we thought that this plane was denied landing permission at the airport. Suddenly, we saw another aircraft approach the bigger aircraft at greater speed and release fire which appeared as a bright light.

"The plane on the top turned and went in another direction. We sensed the change in sound of the bigger plane. It went down and disappeared."

At about 5am, Mbewe went to his charcoal kiln close to the crash site, where he found soldiers and policemen already dispersing people. According to the official report the wreckage was only discovered at 3pm that afternoon.

"There was a group of white soldiers carrying a body, two in front and two behind," he said. "I heard people saying there was a man who was found alive and should be taken to hospital. Nobody was allowed to stay there."

Mbewe did not forward with that information earlier because he was never asked to, he said. "The atmosphere was not peaceful, we were chased away. I was afraid to go to the police because they might put me in prison."

Another witness, Custon Chipoya, a 75-year-old charcoal maker, also claims to have seen a second plane in the sky that night. "I saw a plane turning, it had clear lights and I could hear the roaring sound of the engine," he said. "It wasn't very high. In my opinion, it was at the height that planes are when they are going to land.

"It came back a second time, which made us look and the third time, when it was turning towards the airport, I saw a smaller plane approaching behind the bigger one. The lighter aircraft, a smaller jet type of plane, was trailing behind and had a flash light. Then it released some fire on to the bigger plane below and went in the opposite direction.

"The bigger aircraft caught fire and started exploding, crashing towards us. We thought it was following us as it chopped off branches and tree trunks. We thought it was war, so we ran away."

Chipoya said he returned to the site the next morning at about 6am and found the area cordoned off by police and army officers. He didn't mention what he had seen because: "It was impossible to talk to a police officer then. We just understood that we had to go away," he said.

Safeli Mulenga, 83, also in Chifubu on the night of the crash, did not see a second plane but witnessed an explosion.

"I saw the plane circle twice," he said. "The third time fire came from somewhere above the plane, it glowed so bright. It couldn't have been the plane exploding because the fire was coming on to it," he said.

There was no announcement for people to come forward with information following the crash, and the federal government did not want people to talk about it, he said. "There were some who witnessed the crash and they were taken away and imprisoned."

John Ngongo, now 75, out in the bush with a friend to learn how to make charcoal on the night of the crash, did not see another plane but he definitely heard one, he said.

"Suddenly, we saw a plane with fire on one side coming towards us. It was on fire before it hit the trees. The plane was not alone. I heard another plane at high speed disappearing into the distance but I didn't see it," he said.

The only survivor among the 15 people on board the DC6 was Harold Julian, an American sergeant on Hammarskjöld's security detail. The official report said he died of his injuries, but Mark Lowenthal, a doctor who helped treat Julian in Ndola, told Björkdahl he could have been saved.

"I look upon the episode as having been one of my most egregious professional failures in what has become a long career," Lowenthal wrote in an email. "I must first ask why did the US authorities not at once set out to help/rescue one of their own? Why did I not think of this at the time? Why did I not try to contact US authorities to say, 'Send urgently an aircraft to evacuate a US citizen on secondment to UN who is dying of kidney failure?'"

Julian was left in Ndola for five days. Before he died, he told police he had seen sparks in the sky and an explosion before the crash.

Björkdahl also raises questions about why the DC6 was made to circle outside Ndola. The official report claims there was no tape recorder in the air traffic control tower, despite the fact that its equipment was new. The air traffic control report of the crash was not filed until 33 hours afterwards.

According to records of the events of the night, the British high commissioner to the Rhodesian and Nyasaland Federation, Cuthbert Alport, who was at the airport that evening, "suddenly said that he had heard that Hammarskjöld had changed his mind and intended to fly somewhere else. The airport manager therefore didn't send out any emergency alert and everyone simply went to bed."

The witness accounts of another plane are consistent with other insider accounts of Hammarskjold's death. Two of his top aides, Conor Cruise O'Brien and George Ivan Smith, both became convinced that the secretary general had been shot down by mercenaries working for European industrialists in Katanga. They also believed that the British helped cover up the shooting. In 1992, the two published a letter in the Guardian spelling out their theory. Suspicion of British intentions is a recurring theme of the correspondence Björkdahl has examined from the days before Hammarskjöld's death.

Formally, the UK backed the UN mission, but, privately, the secretary general and his aides believed British officials were obstructing peace moves, possibly as a result of mining interests and sympathies with the white colonists on the Katanga side.

On the morning of 13 September the separatist leader Moise Tshombe signalled that he was ready for a truce, but changed his mind after a one-hour meeting with the UK consul in Katanga, Denzil Dunnett.

There is no doubt that at the time of his death Hammarskjöld‚ who had already alienated the Soviets, French and Belgians, had also angered the Americans and the British with his decision to launch Operation Morthor against the rebel leaders and mercenaries in Katanga.

The US secretary of state, Dean Rusk, told one of the secretary general's aides that President Kennedy was "extremely upset" and was threatening to withdraw support from the UN. The UK , Rusk said, was "equally upset".

At the end of his investigation Björkdahl is still not sure who killed Hammarskjöld, but he is fairly certain why he was killed: "It's clear there were a lot of circumstances pointing to possible involvement by western powers. The motive was there – the threat to the west's interests in Congo's huge mineral deposits. And this was the time of black African liberation, and you had whites who were desperate to cling on.

"Dag Hammarskjöld was trying to stick to the UN charter and the rules of international law. I have the impression from his telegrams and his private letters that he was disgusted by the behaviour of the big powers."

Historians at the Foreign Office said they could not comment. British officials believe that, at this late date, no amount of research would conclusively prove or disprove what they see as conspiracy theories that have always surrounded Hammarskjöld's death.


Released: West Memphis Three
After over 18 years in prison, and four years after crime scene DNA was presented that found no evidence linking the trio to the Arkansas murders. Credit Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp with an assist on the statsheet for this one...

"They were convicted for being young, goth, Wiccan metalheads at the height of the Satanic Panic. Today they walk free.”


Bill Clinton Goes Vegan

As CNN Notes: "By the time he reached the White House, Bill Clinton's appetite was legend. He loved hamburgers, steaks, chicken enchiladas, barbecue and french fries but wasn't too picky. At one campaign stop in New Hampshire, he reportedly bought a dozen doughnuts and was working his way through the box until an aide stopped him." No more, as over the past year, Big Bad Bill has become Sweet William. Under the dietary guide of Dr. Dean Ornish, director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, he has lost over 20 pounds feeding on a vegan diet:


Carrie Fisher has lost 50 pounds since becoming a spokewoman for Jenny Craig, dropping to 130 pounds. She's reportedly thinking of putting on her metal bikini from Return of the Jedi again. Incidentally, Jabba the Hutt would be a good candidate for Weight Watchers...


Jim Thome: 600 Home Runs

And it still may not be enough to get in the Hall of Fame in the age of steroids...


America's Most Walkable Cities, 2011

1. New York
2. San Francisco
3. Boston
4. Chicago
5. Philadelphia



Acquired: Motorola

By Google, giving them a smartphone maker to stay competitive with Apple, Nokia and Blackberry...


Discovered: Lager Beer DNA

The yeast behind the most popular alcoholic drink in the world comes from Argentina, of all places, according to scientists. It traveled from South America about 500 years ago to Germany. In return, Argentina was rewarded with Nazi war criminals. Thanks for the drink, though!!!


Diagnosed: Pat Summitt

With early stages of dementia. She has won a record 1071 games and 8 national titles as coach for the women's Tennessee Volunteers basketball team...


Married: Kim Kardashian

To some guy, we forget his name. Don't worry, she'll still appear in The Konformist wearing outfits that show off her ass...


The HP TouchPad, July 1 - August 18, 2011

It would be fun to blame this on Russell Brand, their dubious spokesman, but the real culprit is Apple, whose iPad Hewlett-Packard just couldn't compete with. And if HP can't compete, good luck to Motorola, Samsung or Blackberry. (Ironically, after the TouchPad discontinue was announced, its sales skyrocketed over the Internet due to tablets previously priced at $499 and $599 on sale for $99 and $149.) The TouchPad is the tip of the iceberg for HP changes, as they are planning to spinoff their PC business (even though they're the world's biggest PC maker, a title they've held since buying Compaq in 2002) and getting out of the smartphone biz (even though they only bought Palm last year for $1.2 billion as part of a strategy to become a smartphone-tablet giant.) If this sounds to you like HP is flailing around cluelessly, you're not alone:its stock dropped more than it has since Black Monday 1987 on the news...

The Burger King Mascot, 2003-11

For some reason, BK decided its creepy looking mascot was bad for business. He actually has a semi-respectable history, with previous incarnations starting in 1955...

Nick Ashford, 70

Half of the husband-wife Motown songwriting duo behind "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand"...

Jerry Lieber, 78

Half of another great songwriting duo with Mike Stoller, penned such hits as "Hound Dog", "Jailhouse Rock", "Yakety Yak" and "King Creole"...

Mike Flanagan, 59

MLB pitcher who won 167 games in his career, including 23 in 1979 while winning the Cy Young for the Baltimore Orioles. He also was part of the last O's World Series team from 1983...

Joey Vento, 71

Owner of Geno's Steaks, founded in Philly in 1966 one of the city's two most famed makers of cheesesteaks...

Last but definitely not least, farewell to Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple, arguably the man who has changed America for the better more than anyone over the last decade. Normally, we don't gush about CEOs on The Konformist, but we'll make a deserved exception for him...

America's favorite fast food chains

Sorry McDonald's, you don't make the cut
Piper Weiss, Shine Staff
Thu Jun 30, 2011

For the best restaurants in the country ask a Michelin guide reviewer. For the best fast food joints, ask everyone else. That's what Consumer Reports did in their new survey out today. They polled 36,733 subscribers to their magazine on their favorite go-to chains for instant gratification.

Based on over 98,000 visits to 53 chains, readers judged the service, speed, cost and overall deliciousness of their quick dining experience. The big surprise: the highest rated fast food didn't come from the biggest chains. McDonald's, Taco Bell, and KFC, also took a backseat to the slightly smaller franchises. Here are readers' picks for the best fast food experience.

Burgers: In-N-Out burger. The West Coast chain beat out Burger King, McDonald's, and countless other burger-flipping joints to rate highest in taste, speed and service. Their freshly prepared, preservative-free patties were a shoe-in for flavor, and also earned high marks for value. Who needs super-sizing when you've got a super-secret menu?

Mexican: Chiptole Mexican Grill. With only 8 chains in this category, the competition is slim, but readers gave this tacos-and-guac haven the highest marks not only for flavor but for speed and service.

Chicken: Chick-fil-A. The fried chicken trays and sandwiches at this nationwide chain beat out KFC's buckets by a long shot.

Sandwiches and Subs: Jason's Deli. The little guy stepped out of the shadows of Quiznos and Subway, as a top pick. It's massive menu options (subs, muffalettas, wraps and even pasta) and "grab-and-go" meals, garnered big-time service and speed points.

Pizza: Papa Murphy's Take N' Bake Pizza. Don't bother making the pizza, we can do it ourselves. That's the message with this surprising fan favorite, a pizza chain that sells prepped, uncooked pizzas that you heat up at home.

Best overall value: Papa Murphy's, CiCi Pizza and In-N-Out Burger. Readers picked these three chains medium-sized chains as the best bang for your buck.

Not everyone was so positive about the fast food experience. Readers rated Round Table Pizza, KFC and the struggling Italian chain, Sbarro's, as offering the least value. And casual dining restaurants like Cracker Barrel and Outback Steakhouse pleased patrons far in terms of experience than the standard to-go chains. Not surprisingly, only 13 percent of those surveyed considered the last meal they ate at a fast food restaurant "healthful." Despite a growing number of lower-fat menu options one thing is clear: they don't turn to the drive-through for diet tips.

Stoner Cooking: Cheese Enchilada Stack

4 Servings


12 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 (15 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 bunch green onion
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2 Spray square 8x8 baking pan with pam (the garlic one is good).
3 Line pan with layer of corn tortillas.
4 Top with 1/3 sauce, cheese, chilis, and onions.
5 Top with second layer of tortillas.
6 Top with second layer of 1/3 sauce, cheese, chilis, and onions.
7 Top with final layer of tortillas.
8 End with final layer of 1/3 sauce, cheese, chilis, and onions.
9 Bake until bubbly (approximately 10-15 min.).
10 You can use green sauce and 2 cups cubed chicken.
11 Or black beans.
12 Or ground beef seasoned with taco mix.

Klassic Konformist

Acharya S, Kenn Thomas & Robalini in Laughlin, Nevada, late nineties...

DON’T Give the Miami Hurricanes the Death Penalty

Give it to the NCAA
Dave Zirin

Thursday morning’s cover of USA Today blared the two words on everyone's lips: “the death penalty.” No, this isn’t because Texas Governor Rick Perry – who just loves executin’ innocent and guilty alike - is now running for President. It’s the fate that most people believe awaits the storied football team at the University of Miami. The death penalty means that the NCAA will for an indeterminate time shut down the entire Hurricanes program. It’s a brutal, financially crippling fate that many believe Miami has more than earned, following a Yahoo Sports expose by Charles Robinson which detailed eight years of amateur violations that would make Dennis Rodman blush. A mini-Madoff financial criminal named Nevin Shapiro, currently serving 20 years behind bars, offered prostitutes, payola, jewelry, yacht parties and every possible South Beach excess for the Hurricane players. While corrupting the athletic program, he was simultaneously being feted by school President, former Clinton cabinet member Donna Shalala and Hurricanes athletic director Paul Dee. They even let him on two occasions lead the team out of the tunnel on game day.

This bombshell has the moral majority of sports journalists in full froth, rushing to the barricades to defend amateur sports. We have people like Sporting News columnist David Whitley, to use merely one example, writing, “The only way to make Miami behave is a long timeout. No more football, smoke and parties for a couple of years. Nothing else has a chance of ending the culture of corruption that is The U.” He even calls Miami "the Ben Tre of college football", writing, “American forces wiped out the village to get rid of the Viet Cong, prompting a timeless explanation from the U.S. commander: ‘It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.’ The only way to save Miami is to destroy it, stripper pole and all.” But like the war in Vietnam, not to mention the actual death penalty, the call for the NCAA to shut down the program is dead wrong. As with capital punishment, eliminating the Hurricanes is an exercise in hypocrisy that does nothing but ensure these scandals will happen again and again.

What this scandal should produce, instead of the isolation and destruction of one program, is a serious reflection on the gutter economy that is college athletics. Players cannot be paid openly and legally so instead we get the amoral wampum of “amateur sports.” Reading the Yahoo Sports story, it’s difficult to not be chilled by the casual misogyny detailed as strippers, “escorts” and hookers were purchased and handed to players like party favors. You wonder why over 80% of NFL players get divorced after retirement. It’s because as teenagers, they are mentored by parasites like Nevin Shapiro who show them that women are the exchange value for their lucrative labor. This kind of gutter economy also has an ugly echo in old slave plantations, as the prized sports specimens in the antebellum South were handed women by the masters in return for their athletic prowess. Or as David Steele wrote earlier this week, ”Of course, America’s tender little feelings will be bruised if this is equated to slavery, or a plantation economy, or a plantation mentality. Fine. Maybe it can live with a metaphor like sharecropping. You do all the work, we take all the profits, we compensate you with the bare necessities of life, and tough break if you don’t like it."

The metaphor works because once you wave away the smoke and hot air, this is about jock sniffing criminals and corrupted college Presidents taking advantage of primarily poor African Americans from the South, who see everyone getting paid but them. One anonymous University of Miami player told Yahoo Sports about University running back Tyrone Moss, who took $1,000 from Shapiro. “The guy had a kid while he was in college, a little Tyrone Jr.,” the player said. “He comes in poor as [expletive] from Pompano and he’s got a little kid to feed. I could barely feed myself. I can’t imagine having to feed a kid, too. Of course he’s going to take it when someone offers him $1,000. Who wouldn’t in that situation?”

The solution lies in paying the players but it also lies in driving a stake through the heart of the NCAA as an instrument of enforcement. Having the NCAA shut down the program only reinforces the illusion that they are the motor of morality, compliance and justice, when in fact they are the corrupters of these concepts. Already, NCAA President Mark Emmert, he of the seven figure salary, has been across the national media, preaching about protecting, “The integrity of intercollegiate athletics.” Emmert and his 14 assistants, each who make at least $400,000 a year, will stand on their soapbox and quarantine the bad boys of Miami just in time to save the Golden Goose: the billion dollar television contracts, and the $135 million from the Bowl Championship Series used to crown a fake national champion.

They defend amateurism as an end unto itself, but this is also complete nonsense. As Patrick Hruby wrote at last year, “Philosophically speaking, amateurism is malarkey, about as credible as the Tooth Fairy. The Victorian-era English aristocrats who came up with the concept ascribed it to the ancient Greeks, who supposedly competed for nothing more than glory, honor and olive wreaths. The only problem? History and the legend don't match. Modern archeology suggests that the ancient Olympics were rife with spoils. Think prize money, prime amphitheater seats, generous pensions and civic appointments. According to Olympic historian Tony Perottet, one Games winner even parlayed his victory into a senatorial seat in Athens. Indeed, the ancient Greeks didn't even have a word for amateur, and the closest term --idiotes -- needs no translation."

Let what has happened at Miami be a wakeup call: the NCAA has about as much moral authority to give “the death penalty” as Rick Perry. If this ends with the NCAA giving Miami the death penalty, then the “gutter economy” survives and we are all the worse for it. If you listen closely, you can hear King Leopold’s chains rattling in the NCAA’s halls, haunting and guiding the daily maneuvers of this “non-profit” that enriches itself by paying its laborers nothing. Shut it down and end the culture of corruption once and for all.

Dave Zirin just made the new documentary “Not Just a Game.” Receive his column every week by emailing Contact him at


Credit to

Lady Gaga surfing in Mexico

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Jennifer Lopez

Christina Milian

Alessandra Ambrosio

Nicole Scherzinger

Blake Lively

Halle Berry

Jane Lynch

Poe & Lovecraft

Robert Bloch
Reprinted from Ambrosia No. 2 (Aug. 1973)

Comparisons between Edgar Allan Poe and Howard Phillips Lovecraft are, I suppose, inevitable; seemingly, in recent years [writing in 1973] they are also interminable.

I shall not, therefore, repeat the usual recital of similarities to be found within their work -- there will be no mention of black cats, revenants, or Antarctic settings per se.

But at the same time I have no intention of making a calculated bid for attention by deliberately asserting, as some have also declared, that no real resemblance exists aside from superficial employment of stock characters and themes common to virtually all stories in the genre.

To me, this is an untenable statement: Lovecraft, like every writer of fantasy and horror fiction subsequent to Poe, was necessarily influenced by the work of his predecessor -- and to certain extent his work needs must be derivative in some slight sense. Actually, Lovecraft's homage to Poe in his essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, indicates a degree of appreciation and admiration which leaves no doubt as to the profound impression made upon him by the earlier master.

But to me the most fruitful area of comparison lies within an examination of the backgrounds and personalities of the writers themselves.

Consider the facts. Both Poe and Lovecraft were New England born. Both were, to all intents and purposes, fatherless at an early age. Both developed a lifelong affinity for poetry and the elements of a classical education Both utilized archaisms in their writing styles and affected personal eccentricities which in time became consciously cultivated.

Although Poe spent a part of his youth in England and travelled along the Atlantic seaboard in later life -- and while Lovecraft ventured up into Canada and down into Florida on vacations a few years prior to his death -- neither man ever ventured west of the Alleghenies. Lovecraft, on one occasion, did skirt them to visit E. Hoffman Price briefly in his New Orleans home, but essentially he and Poe were Easterners. Their outlook was, to a marked degree, provincial; even parochial.

Both men distrusted "foreigners" in the mass: both retained a profound admiration for the English. These attitudes are plainly evident in their work, which is many particulars removed and remote form the main current of American life.

A reader attempting to capture some glimpse of the United States in the 1830-1850 period would gain small enlightenment from the poetry and fiction of Poe. At a time when the entire nation was engaged in a westward thrust, beginning with the peregrinations of the mountain men and ending with the Gold Rush in the year of Poe's death, one searches in vain for a wet which does not seemingly even exist in his literary compass.

Byronic heroes sequestered in British and continental locales scarcely reflect the American attitudes or aptitudes in the era of Old Hickory, Davy Crockett, the fall of the Alamo, the Mexican War and the growing turmoil over slavery.

Nor would a reader find more typically American protagonists amongst the pendants, professors and regionally-oriented recluses of Lovecraft's tales, in which there's scarcely a hint of the manners and mores of the Roaring Twenties or the Great Depression which followed in the ensuing decade. Aside from a few remarks regarding the influx of immigrants and concomitant destruction of old folkways and landmarks, plus brief mentions of the (intellectually) "wild" college set, Lovecraft ignores the post WW1 Jazz Age in its entirety: Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Al Capone, Valentino, Mencken and the prototypes of Babbit have no existence in HPL's realm. It is difficult to believe that Howard Phillips Lovecraft was a literary contemporary of Ernest Hemingway.

And yet a further comparison between Lovecraft and Poe remains; one of profound importance in any consideration of their work, because it softens any charge that two writers were totally unaware of the actual world and unrealistic in their treatment of their times.

I refer, of course, to their mutual interest in science. Both Poe and Lovecraft were acute observers of the scientific and pseudo-scientific developments of their respective days, and both men utilized thee latest theories and discoveries in their writing. It is only necessary to cite Poe's use of mesmerism, his employment of the balloon hoax, his detailing of data in the Arthur Gordon Pym novella, to prove the point.

Lovecraft, for his part, relies on scientific background material in his Pym-like At the Mountains of Madness, "The Shadow Out of Time" and other efforts; notable is his immediate adoption of the newly discovered "ninth planet" in "The Whisperer in Darkness."

Lovecraft's interest in astronomy undoubtedly led to his increasing interest in other fields of scientific endeavor, just as Poe's early experiences at West Point must have fostered his preoccupation with codes an ciphers. And both men, as professional writers, were well and widely-read in the contemporary work of their day: Poe as a working critic, demonstrates his knowledge in his nonfictional efforts and Lovecraft, in his correspondence, proves himself no stranger to Proust, Joyce, Spengler and Freud.

But the point is that Poe and Lovecraft deliberately chose to turn their backs on contemporary styles and subject-matter and created their own individual worlds of fantasy. In this above all else they were similar.

And in this, above all else, we readers of Poe and Lovecraft are fortunate indeed. We shall never know, and never care, what Edgar Allan Poe though of Andy Jackson's "kitchen cabinet" or how H. P. Lovecraft regarded the Teapot Dome scandal. Small loss, when both have given us glimpses of worlds peculiarly and provocatively their very own.

For the final similarity is this -- Poe and Lovecraft are our two American geniuses of fantasy, comparable each to the other, but incomparably superior to all the rest who follow in their wake.
Copyright Notice. This article was first published in Ambrosia #2 (August, 1973), © 1973 Alan Gullette and Robert Bloch. It was subsequently revised slightly by the author and reprinted in H.P. Lovecraft: Four Decades of Criticism, ed. S. T. Joshi (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1980), pp. 158-160, © 1980 Ohio University Press. The present text is the original.

About the author

Robert Bloch (1917-1994) was a horror, suspense, and science fiction writer and screenwriter, best known for the novel Psycho (1959, adapted to film by Hitchcock in 1960). A member of the "Lovecraft Circle," his correspondence with Lovecraft (edited by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, with introduction by Bloch) was published by Necronomicon Press (1993). Following his first publication in Weird Tales for May 1935, his work would appear in such classic pulps as Amazing Stories, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Strange Stories, and Unusual Stories.

Altogether, Bloch wrote over 220 stories collected in over 2 dozen collections, 2 dozen novels, screenplays for a dozen movies and three Star Trek episodes, a volume of essays, and the award-winning Once Around The Bloch: An Unauthorized Autobiography (1993).

His many awards included one Nebula Award, two Hugos, three World Fantasy Awards (including Lifetime Achievement), and five Bram Stoker Awards. He also the received a special award at the first NecronomiCon in 1993; after his death it was renamed in his honor. He died on September 23, 1994 in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer.

Does It Include a Rug, Man?

FYI all Big Lebowski fans: El Duderino's bungalow is on the market. In fact, all six bungalows are on sale together:

606-608 Venezia Ave.
Venice, CA
6 One Bedroom Cottages

"The Big Lebowski" Compound

Six historic one bedroom cottages on a 10,628 sq ft lot, all just blocks to the beach and Abbot Kinney. These historic, bigger-than-average bungalows feature spacious side-yards, garage parking and a lushly landscaped gated courtyard.

In 2005, property underwent major renovations, including new sewer line, roofing. This a perfect candidate for a residential subdivision.

Compound was used as location for classic film "The Big Lebowski," starring Jeff Bridges.

Recent Media Coverage:

•The Huffington Post
•Washington Post
•The Beat of Young Los Angeles
•Film Drunk
•The Dude's Paper
•Guest of a Guest LA
•Hemp Beach
•Movie Locations Guide

Offered at $2,295,000

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Look Who's Standing for LGBT Rights: Tim Hardaway

Dave Zirin 8-22-11

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has a new ally and his name is Tim Hardaway. The former NBA All-Star traveled to El Paso, Texas, last Thursday -- where he perfected his killer crossover dribble, also known as the UTEP-Two Step -- to stand up for gay rights. There is a group in El Paso who are trying to recall mayor John Cook and two members of the city counsel for re-establishing domestic partner benefits for both gay and unmarried couples. Hardaway arrived from Miami to speak at a press conference organized by the "No Recall" group.

"It's not right to not let the gays and lesbians have equal rights here," Hardaway told the crowd. "If I know El Paso, like they came together when the 1966 team won a championship and Don Haskins started those five [black] guys, I know the city will grow and understand that gays and lesbians need equal rights." Hardaway was referencing UTEP's 1966 national championship team when coach Don Haskins' all-black starting five made history by beating Adolph Rupp's all-white Kentucky squad.

Hardaway is the last person you would expect to speak out for gay rights. It was just four years ago when Hardaway said "I hate gay people" on a Miami radio show after John Amaechi became the first former NBA player to come out of the closet. Hardaway went further by adding, "I don't like to be around gay people. I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world for that or in the United States for it. So yeah, I don't like it."

Hardaway was hit with an avalanche of criticism. He apologized, even promised to go into counseling and -- as public figures are prone to do -- pledged to change. Now it looks like he actually has.

I spoke with Amaechi to get his thoughts on Hardaway's change of heart. Amaechi said that he "heard about the story. I was in contact with the people he did his 'emergency rehab' with after his 'I hate gay people rant.' They were underwhelmed to say the least. Back then his contrition seemed more to do with the financial and reputation hit he had taken in the aftermath. However, it seems to me that this is a far more genuine piece of outreach ... I hope this is a story of true redemption rather than a savvy p.r. ploy. Either way, he is at least saying the right words, and that will make a positive difference."

Amaechi's cynicism is understandable. But Rus Bradburd, the assistant on Don Haskins staff who recruited Hardaway to UTEP, was in El Paso for the event and said Hardaway was there for the right reasons. "Tim has shown great compassion in re-thinking his position," said Bradburd. "It's one thing for a celebrity to apologize as damage control. But in this case, Tim has taken a much bigger step: he's pushing for the correct cause now, and equated the movement with Civil Rights struggles of the past. And the fact that he's pushing for equal rights in a place that is not exactly the national stage makes his move even more authentic."

As for Hardaway, he told the media in El Paso that he was a different person. "My family and friends came to me and were like, 'What are you doing?'" Hardaway said of his comments four years ago. "I talked to them and they made me understand that wasn't right."

In many ways, sports are different today than in 2007. Teams like the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs do public service announcements against anti-gay bullying. Steve Nash, Michael Strahan and Sean Avery do commercials for New York State's Marriage Equality campaign. Charles Barkley says he knows he had gay teammates and couldn't care less. Hardaway's unglamorous activism in 100-degree heat on an August day is commendable. It brings us closer to a sports world where the sexual orientation of athletes is little more than a detail. For that Hardaway deserves recognition, if not praise.

This was truly Hardaway's best crossover.

Dave Zirin is the author of the forthcoming book “The John Carlos Story” (Haymarket) just made the new documentary “Not Just a Game.” Receive his column every week by emailing Contact him at