Accepting submissions for: LESSER POOP

Lesser Poop

will be the “Bathroom Reader” edition of Intermittens. It focuses on short submissions which you can enjoy during a brief shitting sitting. It’s the perfect issue to leave in the bathrooms of coffee houses, bars, doctor’s offices, etc. NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS!

Especially crude, stupid, or idiotic submissions are preferred. I am aiming for about 20-25 pages of low brow content. I may do some interviews, but I probably won’t be running longer, more serious pieces. Think about stuff which would be fun to read while you’re on the can.

In case you missed it, the title is a reference to this page of the PD: Greater Poop.

Already included: Very bad jokes. Very short stories. Exercises to mindfuck yourself.

Try out intermittens.org‘s brand new super powers by submitting stuff here. (you’ll need a login)

I’m going to endeavor to throw this thing together fairly quickly, so submit early!

also, check out Intermittens.org, our kick ass front door for the magazine.

Chaos Magic and the Dark Side of the Moon

I am not a expert at Chaos Magic. Hell, let’s face it, I downright suck at it. As a skeptic I barely believe that it exists. I personally feel that it is just a way of putting yourself in a trance like state that changes your subjective view of your surroundings. It is just an occult tradition that has no traditions. It is DIY and MYOB religion. It is the refusal to listen to anyone else when it come to what works for you.

And it almost never works for me. I’m entirely too antsy for meditation. I can’t sit still for more than a couple of minutes before my skin starts to crawl and my muscles rebel against me. Pagan rituals don’t seem to work for me either. I just can’t turn off the disbelief center in my brain. I also couldn’t do it back when I was a Christian. I’d often hear people after a service talking about how “the Holy Spirit sure moved here today” and be completely dumbstruck by the concept. It was just so foreign to me. Props or pageantry don’t seem to help either.

Having said that, there are a couple of things that do actually put me in the ultra-fine religious state of gnosis. I’ll just cover the first one in this post and talk about the others later on.

One thing that seems to work about 75% of the time for me is a simple music relaxation technique. As I’ve said before I am a very auditory learner and music can have a very strong effect on my psyche. First, I isolate myself in a distraction free room, which isn’t easy when you are married and have a 2 year old. The only equipment I need is an MP3 player and a good pair of headphones. I’m not an obsessive audiophile but good headphones are a must for this. I like hearing every single note clearly and it helps to block out any background sounds around you. I then lie as still as possible while listening to an album with an ethereal feel to it. The old standbys like “The Dark Side of the Moon” almost always work. I get chills every single time I get to “Us and Them”. I’ve also used Radiohead’s “Ok Computer” and Broken Social Scene’s “Feel Good Lost”with good results.

As with any Chaos Magic this technique doesn’t work for everyone and doesn’t work every single time. This particular technique can get me into a shallow trance-like state and positively affect my mood. However it doesn’t seem to be good for much else. I’ll get to the more powerful stuff next time around.

Radio Free Discordia launches

http://radiofreediscordia.org/

RADIO FREE DISCORDIA is finally launching! You can hear its birth pangs tonight at about 7 PM EST. If you’re interested in doing a show, whether it’s a one-shot or a weekly gig, contact Mourning Star, who can (often) be found in the #RFD chat room.

Refresh the above image to get a new one.

A chain-letter about HIMEOBS

I’ve been noticing this appearing with increasing regularity in my various inboxes recently:

What do featherbrained lummoxes, brusque wonks, and HIMEOBS have in common? If you answered, “They all enable intellectually challenged, childish sybarites to punch above their weight,” then pat yourself on the back. With this letter, I hope to advocate social change through dialogue, passive resistance, and nonviolence. But first, I would like to make the following introductory remark: HIMEOBS’s planning to exploit issues such as the global economic crisis and the increase in world terrorism in order to instigate planet-wide chaos. Planet-wide chaos is its gateway to global tyranny, which will in turn enable it to funnel significant amounts of money to filthy bigamists. Despite HIMEOBS’s evident lack of grounding in what it’s talking about, HIMEOBS’s favorite buzzword these days is “crisis”. It likes to tell us that we have a crisis on our hands. It then argues that the only reasonable approach to combat this crisis is for it to inculcate the hermeneutics of suspicion in otherwise open-minded people. In my opinion, the real crisis is the dearth of people who understand that HIMEOBS used to complain about being persecuted. Now it is our primary persecutor. This reversal of roles reminds me that if HIMEOBS can overawe and befuddle a sufficient number of prominent individuals then it will become virtually impossible for anyone to invigorate the effort to reach solutions by increasing the scope of the inquiry rather than by narrowing or abandoning it.

If HIMEOBS ever claims that it is the one who will lead us to our great shining future, we must answer only one thing: “No, the reverse is true.” HIMEOBS’s premise (that advertising is the most veridical form of human communication) is its morality disguised as pretended neutrality. HIMEOBS uses this disguised morality to support its jokes, thereby making its argument self-refuting. HIMEOBS’s “sincerity” is as transparent as the icy, uncaring look in its eyes. It is unclear whether this is because one loses count of the number of times HIMEOBS has tried to destroy our sense of safety in the places we ordinarily imagine we can flee to, because posterity will have little occasion to glorify its “heroic” existence in a new epic, or a combination of the two. Just because HIMEOBS and its co-conspirators don’t like being labelled as “biggety buffoons” or “anti-democratic ragamuffins” doesn’t mean the shoe doesn’t fit. I acknowledge freely and make no apology for the fact that I once considered it reasonable for addlepated cockalorums to seek temporary tactical alliances with stinking half-wits in order to muster enough force to criticize other people’s beliefs, fashion sense, and lifestyle. But now I know that it’s best to ignore most of the quotes that HIMEOBS so frequently cites. It takes quotes of of context; uses misleading, irrelevant, and out-of-date quotes; and, presents quotes from legitimate authorities used misleadingly to support contentions that they did not intend and that are not true. In short, HIMEOBS has, at times, called me “mawkish” or “hotheaded”. Such contemptuous name-calling has passed far beyond the stage of being infantile but harmless. It has the capacity to rule with an iron fist.

HIMEOBS sees the world as somewhat anarchic, a game of catch-as-catch-can in which the sneakiest grizzlers nab the biggest prizes. What does HIMEOBS have to say about all of this? The answer, as expected, is nothing. I will not quibble with HIMEOBS as to whether or not the essence of lying is in deception, not in words. Instead, I’ll simply state that the thought that someone, somewhere, might urge lawmakers to pass a nonbinding resolution affirming that HIMEOBS consistently falls short of telling the whole story or of making a solid point is anathema to it and leave it at that. Those of us who are still sane, those of us who still have a firm grip on reality, those of us who still feel that stopping HIMEOBS is front and center in my work, have an obligation to do more than just observe what HIMEOBS is doing from a safe distance. We have an obligation to go placidly amid the noise and haste. We have an obligation to bring strength to our families, power to our nation, and health to our cities. And we have an obligation to advance freedom in countries strangled by tyranny. In summary, HIMEOBS uses a rather shrewish definition of “saccharomucilaginous”. Is anyone listening? Does anyone care?

Needless to say, such charges are ludicrous and do not even merit a response, laughter aside.

Keep Drinking

This is covering ground touched on in previous CP’s, but it EASILY merits reiteration and elaboration.  Dehydration sucks.  An old teacher of mine put this simply, and only had to say it once.  Lack of water will drop you faster than many other passive needs, excepting lack of air, so it bears paying attention to.  Habitually carrying a water bottle is not a bad habit to be in, as has been mentioned in previous articles, whether it’s a soft drink bottle you just kept using (they’re durable enough), or a fancy steel / aluminum / lexan one that could potentially fall off a cliff with little ill effect.  (Keep in mind a good strong bottle can also make an admirable clubbing tool, if you really need.  Hit with the corners, if you have a choice, the sides tend to cave in with abuse.)  In hotter conditions, as you loose water through sweating, you will need to do more than just re – hydrate, you may also need to put more salt / sugar in your system, since they are also lost when you’re sweating.  Sports drinks (Gatorade), are the obvious taste appealing solution, and come in powdered form which is easy to use as you need.  Mixing them about half the recommended strength works well.  If it’s not available, small amounts of pickle juice, table salt, or even sea water can substitute.  Use any with care, ESPECIALLY with the sea water, since getting too much salt in your system will only make the dehydration worse, and ocean water has a tremendously high salt content.  (A few cups can take you from thirsty to dangerously / fatally dehydrated FAST.) 

Good luck and drink up!        

The coup d’etat

Matt Tiabbi brings the thunder, as always:

The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d’état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.

The crisis was the coup de grâce: Given virtually free rein over the economy, these same insiders first wrecked the financial world, then cunningly granted themselves nearly unlimited emergency powers to clean up their own mess. And so the gambling-addict leaders of companies like AIG end up not penniless and in jail, but with an Alien-style death grip on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve — “our partners in the government,” as Liddy put it with a shockingly casual matter-of-factness after the most recent bailout.

The mistake most people make in looking at the financial crisis is thinking of it in terms of money, a habit that might lead you to look at the unfolding mess as a huge bonus-killing downer for the Wall Street class. But if you look at it in purely Machiavellian terms, what you see is a colossal power grab that threatens to turn the federal government into a kind of giant Enron — a huge, impenetrable black box filled with self-dealing insiders whose scheme is the securing of individual profits at the expense of an ocean of unwitting involuntary shareholders, previously known as taxpayers.

Tools to have: A few thoughts on Knives

A knife is a VERY useful too to have on hand.  The author, it should be mentioned, is quite fond of a good knife.  He has many, makes his own, and almost always has one at hand, if not on his person.  In theory, with a knife as your only tool, and some knowledge, you can take care of many problems, from the mundane opening boxes, to the dire if you end up stranded without many other resources.  Not to say a knife will save you if you’re dropped in the Artic circle butt naked with no other supplies.  What it will do is give you the ability to cut, chop, poke, and otherwise lacerate things you can find around you to produce better tools, shelter and sustenance.  Yes, you COULD fight off a person / wild animal with one, but that’s a stupid idea and won’t be covered in this article.

Carrying a knife, in our modern paranoid and controlled age, is not ALWAYS a good idea.  Other side of the coin to this is you do not need to be Rambo, and carry a huge bowie knife with you everywhere, everyday.  There’s just no need, and it will get in your way as often as not.  People will look at you funny, and you’ll get shit from law enforcement if you go the wrong places.  You will certainly be making a statement, and exercising your rights, but it will be getting in your way royally.  Be aware.

For most day to day use, the author has yet to find need for much more than a good folding knife.  These can be small and inconspicuous, but larger ones are out there if you feel the need, or have big hands.  They run the gamut of price and quality, but Gerber, Ka-Bar, Spyderco, or the pricey but worthwhile Emerson makes have served the author admirably.   They retail anywhere from $40 to $200, and you can spend much more FAST.  Features abound too, and may interfere with local laws.  They might be illegal if they assist with how the knife opens, so read up or ask before you buy.  More to the point (har har), learn how to sharpen knives well.  A pocketknife especially should be kept sharp for fine work.  The best way to get this skill is to practice, mess up, and learn.

More serious endeavors, or hard work, you generally don’t want to stress a folding knife with.  This is a GREAT time to have a small fixed blade knife around.  Only keep it on if you intend to be out for a serious kind of day.  On a tool / pistol belt is another good option.  Usually something under 1 foot / 31 cm is about right, unless you need or prefer more heft or length.  There are also many smaller fixed blades being sold as “neck knives” or “kiridashi”, which have become more prominent these days.  Useful, but they don’t always have the length to be a replacement for a larger fixed blade.   (Imagine trying to carve a roast or split kindling with a scalpel.)  They are great as pocket knife replacements, especially if you like the security of a knife that has no moving parts to break.  Another fad of the past few years is small fixed blades with flat / blunt tips.  These “tactical pry bar” or “entry tools” have their attraction, but sometimes you WANT a knife to have a point.  (Can’t remove a splinter with a wanna – be wrecking bar.)  The author owns one that cost him $12, one tenth the price of most versions, which may be reviewed / showcased later.  It’s certainly a good tool, but a more traditional styled blade will be more useful than a combination tool, long run.

Knives much larger than the previously discussed length become more specific tools, and eventually start to become a machete, axe, or sword, whether they want to or not.  The author’s favorite cooking knives fall into the category, be he will NEVER take them into the woods for a weekend of camp chores.  A bigger blade can be good to have for some tasks, but keep in mind how much weight you need to pack JUST for the sake of those tasks, and if it might be easier just to carry and axe / machete outright.  If the outing requires weapons, we live in a gunfight age, not a swordfight age.  If you need a weapon, get a gun.  If you need a general bushcraft / utility tool, get a knife.

Pope-Counter Pope

Pope Benedict XVI (you know, the guy that thinks he is the only true pope) is currently in the middle of an Africa-wide tour. On his first day in the AIDS-ravished country of Cameroon he made the following statement:

“It (AIDS) cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.”

As a counter-point I, Pope Iason Ouabache the Skeptical make this statement:

“Automobile accidents cannot be overcome by the mandating of seatbelts in all cars. On the contrary, they increase the problem. Sure, the statistics show that traffic fatalities have gone down worldwide since the seatbelts have become wide spread. But we believe that the best way to prevent these deaths is to tell people to not drive at all. Or you may obtain a specialized license from the Holy Church of the Skeptic after you swear to never ever drive dangerously.”

The other pope is currently unavailable for comment.

Daily Telegraph fail

Warning: “Do nothing” wankfest ahead.

Via the Telegraph:

We need more risk and less regulation of the financial sector

Um, OK?

Capitalism is based on innovation.

Adam Smith rang.  He said “did you even READ my fucking book?”

But innovations are not always well understood when they first turn up. People buy too many of them and pay too much for them.

I just want to quote this as evidence the market does not always work perfectly and people are not rational consumers.  This will become important in a minute.

That is what happened in this crisis. People paid too much for financial products that they didn’t understand.

And sold them for too much.  And floated an entire economy on the basis they would keep selling forever and would never drop in price.  Oh, and there was something about lying to investors and firing people who disagreed with that assessment, using things like evidence and projected trends.  So not so much a naive mistake and more like carefully calculated get rich schemes.

Left to function alone, the market would have punished those that had invested in the companies that lost.

And everyone else, for good measure.  The market approves of collateral damage.

Companies going bust and investors losing their money are not a “failure of capitalism”.

Not even if they are making a yearly profit, yet go out of business due to a lack of credit during more quiet seasons?  Because that’s what is happening.

It is capitalism; and if you don’t like it, then you don’t like the system.

If you love Communism so much, why don’t you live there?

There was no need for the British government to bail out the banks last autumn.

Apart from that whole “turning into the next Somalia” thing, and everyone knows Somalia is a healthy and functioning market economy, with reported growth in such vital areas as piracy, terrorism, warlordism and mercenary work.

The wrong policy response – the one adopted – was to reward investor error.

Yeah, those silly investors, believing banking CEOs.  They should have beat them until they told them the truth about the risks they were taking!  Jack Bauer would do no less.

It saved the capitalists made rich at the expense of private capitalism.

If you hate that so much, why don’t you move to Cuba or something, Che?

Calls for heavy-handed regulation to restrict the actions of banks are the flip-side of acting so as to undermine the market’s means to punish poor decision-making.

Yeah, not allowing financially risky decisions with the threat of jail is totally not a punishment when compared to what The Market will do.

This means there will be less risk-taking in the economy as a whole – less innovation and experimentation, less diversity and dynamism.

I cite the Open Source Movement as proof people cannot innovate without a profit motive.

We will have an economy that grows more slowly and a society that is less tolerant, offering fewer opportunities for those who have no money but good ideas to get ahead.

Whereas a worldwide economic depression every couple of years won’t make people more intolerant or offer fewer opportunities at all.

The financial sector is unlikely to be able to return to sustained profitability without significant restructuring of a much more radical nature than the current favourites of creating “boring banks” and “bad banks”. Governments are now the major shareholders in these institutions, and they should insist upon their restructuring.

Typical commie, looking to the government to solve all your problems.

Imagine if, instead of all that, we had used £100 billion or £200 billion for tax cuts to stimulate the real economy.

Yeah, but imagine if we had used £300 billion to stimulate the Really Real Economy (for Realness).  Or £400 billion to titillate the Somewhat Less Empheral Economy.  Or, and I will admit we are pushing the boat out here, £500 billion for The One True Objective Economy That No Rational Person Can Deny?  What then, eh?  That’s the problem with you Commies, your lack of innovative thinking.

Ye gods, that was the biggest pile of fail I have ever read.