The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

They Saved Einstein's Brain!

Evidently when Albert Einstein died at the age of 76 in 1955 sections of his brain were sliced and mounted on glass for further study. The now are part of a traveling exhibit which is currently on loan to the United Kingdom.

From the Guardian:

"Einstein was cremated and his ashes were scattered according to his wishes. But the pathologist Thomas Harvey, who carried out the postmortem, said Einstein's son gave him permission to preserve the brain for research, a claim that was later disputed.
Harvey kept the brain, which to many people's surprise was not particularly large, and divided it into 240 sections preserved in jars of formaldehyde at his house. He gave a box of 46 slides to his colleague William Ehrich, and the samples were eventually donated to the museum in Philadelphia." ( The Mutter Museum)

     More on museum zombie bait at: brain-samples-display.

 Be seeing you.

The City That Is Becoming a Co-Op

For more than forty years the Danish free city of Christiania has been a refuge for artists, iconoclasts, anarchists, hippies and the generally unconventional. In 1971 a bunch of free spirits playfully occupied an abandoned military barracks in the oldest section of Copenhagen. They liked, one assumes, the irony of turning an army barracks to their decidedly non-militaristic ends. I am sure that the cool 17th century ramparts were appealing as well.

     Then the surprise came: No one threw them out. The rather enlightened government on Denmark in the 70s took a look at the general public opinion, which was mostly with the squatters and...shrugged their collective shoulders. There have been occasional problems with biker gangs trying to take over because of the open trade in cannabis and its derivatives, but for the most part the city has thrived. There are over a thousand residents in the mostly autonomous free city within a city. A number of small businesses have sprung up and thrived. Here is a partial list:

Byens Lys
The local cinema and conference room.
Christiania Bikes
A bike manufacturer, inventors of the renowned Christiania and Pedersen bikes.

Christiania Radio
The local radio station.
Christiania TV
The local television station. Marked: Denmark TV.
Organic fruit and vegetable market, as well as a small café with a lunch buffet.
Commonly called Indkøberen, the grocery store of Christiania which deals predominantly with organic and fair-trade products. With over 2000 organic products in store the Christiania Grocery is one of the most specialized in Copenhagen.

The Women's Blacksmith.

The Green Hall

Christiania's DIY shop. A large wooden building where one can purchase all the supplies needed to build a small house.

At least one small business has been operating since 1973. There are many more.

Now alas, things have changed. There is a more conservative government in Denmark and they are eyeing hungrily this large parcel of prime real estate. The people of Christiania have been told if they wish to stay they must pay 76,000,000 kroner (about $13,600,000). Thus far they have raised about a tenth of that sum.

     They have decided to sell shares. So, if you are looking for something a little different to invest in, think of it as a great low cost time share! Or maybe a little insurance just in case things get really bad at home some day?

Be seeing you.

                               Oh yes, they have a flag too!

    Sources: rawstorywikipediaurbanghostsmedia.

     For a list of micro-nations see:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stuff and Nonsense

Be seeing you.

Lunch From Above!

I love the smell of tacos in the morning!

A new company is hoping to launch in the near future that will deliver tacos fresh to your home or workplace by drone helicopter! The start-up is planned for the Silicon Valley area where people will be more likely welcome our new robot overlords. The idea is this: You place your order from your smartphone, the computer at Tacocopter logs in your co-ordinates, lunch is loaded on a drone much like the one pictured above, and in no time at all, lunch from above!

     No word yet on whether the drones will play "Ride of the Valkyries" when they deliver.

    At the moment Tacocopter is having trouble getting their business off the ground though. The FAA has declined to license the commercial use of drones in urban environments. A bit ironic when the government is asserting the right to use drones to assassinate US citizens without due process, n'est-ce pas?


Monday, March 26, 2012

On The Individual Mandate

   Right now the U.S. Supreme Court is pondering whether it is constitutional for the government to require people to have health insurance. This is happening because the Republican party is shocked at this example of the intrusion of Big Government on Individual Liberty (TM).

    Where were they 35 years ago when the laws were passed requiring me to buy car insurance?

    Oh yeah, they were writing the bill to help out their buddies in the insurance companies.

     Be seeing you.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Behold: The Reefer-Mat

In West Auckland, New Zealand at the Daktory, they had a problem when the club's owner, Dakta Green, was rousted by the constabulary and given eight months for distrbution of a Class C substance. With typical local ingenuity they have converted the warehouse to the local headquarters for NORML. The vending machine prevents the local police from charging anyone with sales and, while they lie in wait outside, as long as you use up what you get from the machine before you go home you are safe.

The machine sells a gram of cannabis for $20NZ. (about $16 U.S.)

For more see: cannabis-vending-machine

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Reverend Assembly of Clowns

Every year since 1946, on the first Sunday in February, is the Clowns International Annual Service. It is held to honor Joseph Grimaldi, the father of modern clowning, and to celebrate those who play the fool for our entertainment.

A Fear That Ought Not To Be In This Century

New York Times journalist Charles Blow, on his own fears after hearing about the shooting of Trayvon Martin
Post racial America: Where fathers and mothers still fear for their children for merely walking on the streets and existing. This fear is so fucking palpable that it shakes our very core. (via wildeblackseoul)

Lifted whole from wine-loving-vagabond because there is nothing more to say.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Early Censorship Protest

In 1934 the MPAA voluntarily passed the Motion Picture Production Code, more generally known as the Hays Code, largely to avoid governmental regulation. The code prohibited certain plotlines and imagery from films and in publicity materials produced by the MPAA. Among others, there was to be no cleavage, no lace underthings, no drugs or drinking, no corpses, and no one shown getting away with a crime.
A.L. Shafer, the head of photography at Columbia, took a photo that intentionally incorporated all of the 10 banned items into one image.
The photograph was clandestinely passed around among photographers and publicists in Hollywood as a method of symbolic protest to the Hays Code.

Taken from wine-loving-vagabond, a fine blog.

Be seeing you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On Porn and Prejudice

When I was growing up in Plesantville in the mid '60s the only place that a Caucasian female breast might be seen was in the Playboy magazine that Dad hid out in the workshop in the garage or, if his tastes were a bit kinkier, you might stumble across something more like this:

Which may explain the success of The History Channel.

For most of us however, the only bare breasts we were likely to see were in National Geographic. For some reason the Guardians of Public Morality only deemed breasts on Caucasian women and non-Caucasian women in Eurasia and North America to be capable of corrupting young men into acts of turpitude. By the time we were fourteen most of us had memberships in the National Geographic Society, maps on the bedroom walls and subscriptions to National Geographic.

Mom expected us to grow up to be something like a cross between Indiana Jones and Hemingway.

     Meanwhile, at the same time all of us White boys were lusting after dusky womanflesh, Eldridge Cleaver was sitting in a cell writing the manuscript for Soul On Ice where he was bitching about how White blond women dominated all of the Movies and skin mags and ad campaigns to the point that young Black men preferred White blonds to the girl next door because the culture had conditioned them to the White Man's standard of beauty.

      So now 45 years later and the Great White Male in the GOP is all a-twitter because a man of mixed race is sitting in the White House. Well Bubba, it yer own damn fault. None of this would of happened if you hadn't been so uptight about lettin' us all see a naked woman once in a while. Not to mention that artificial standard of beauty that messed up poor brother Eldridge and made half the women in America anorexic or bulimic. Now have the good grace to shut up and live in the world you helped make.

    Be seeing you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The True Face of War Pt II

From Syria.

No matter what the cause, we should remember that children will be maimed and will die,
before we beat the drums.

Be seeing you.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Non Sequitur Over, With A Twist

It leads to S&M too!

All images from feastingonroadkill. Check 'em out!

Reality vs. TV

    I was watching one of the myriad mindless "police action" dramas on TV is a moment of boredom. In one particular program I saw two peace officers flee and scale a high fence when confronted by two barking German shepherds.

    Yeah, right.

    If you follow the news at all you know in the real world you can usually find about three stories a week where the police gun down the family dog while the children scream in horror. The Libertarian blog "The Agitator" used to post about one a day before they quit bothering.

    Here are a couple of the more memorable cop kills dog stories that have been in the news:

     In this one the police were coming to take a statement from a victim, and shot her dog instead.


     Here's one where Steven Segal helped out...and they used a tank too!


     Finally, it turns out that the NYPD has been trying to cover up a policy of arresting innocent bystanders and ignoring citizens reporting crimes in order to make their numbers look better.


     Now in fairness, the Sacramento P.D. behaved pretty well during the Occupy Sacramento protests. I wasn't there alas, but I do not recall any examples of bad behavior on their part. They appear to have behaved in a highly professional manner.

    Remember all those bumper stickers that used to say, "IF YOU DISLIKE THE POLICE, NEXT TIME YOU'RE IN TROUBLE CALL A HIPPIE"?


   Never had a hippie shoot my dog.

    Something to think about if you live in Phoenix and have Hispanic ancestors.



Saturday, March 10, 2012

How's That Freedom We Brought You Working Out?

Iraqi activists said this picture belongs to a teenager who was brutally killed by religious police for having an “emo” hairstyle. (Courtesy of Al Tahreer News)

At least 90 Iraqi teenages were stoned to death by that country's religious police during the last month for the crime of having "emo" haircuts or attire.  The crackdown came after the Iraqi Interior Ministry declared them "devil worshipers".

In an official statement the ministry declared, 
“The ‘Emo phenomenon’ or devil worshiping is being probed by the Moral Police who have the approval to eliminate it as soon as possible since it’s detrimentally affecting the society and becoming a danger,” and  “They wear strange, tight clothes that have pictures on them such as skulls and use stationery that are shaped as skulls. They also wear rings on their noses and tongues, and do other strange activities,”

According to activists a group of armed men dressed in civilian clothes led the teenagers to a secluded area where they were stoned to death, 
“First they throw concrete blocks at the boy’s arms, then at his legs, then the final blow is to his head, and if he is not dead by then, they start all over again,” one person who managed to escape told the press. The bodies were then disposed of in dumpsters all over Baghdad.

Iraq had a secular government under Sadaam Hussain. There were no religious police before we "liberated" them with eight years of war.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

GOP Birth Control

Apres Moi, la Deluge

     Yesterday was "Super Tuesday".

     The Sacramento City Council approved a plan to build a new stadium for our 13-15 basketball team in the downtown area. They claim this will invigorate the downtown businesses. Our Mayor evidently feels a new sports stadium is a more pressing issue than our homeless problem that is so bad that the United Nations has written chiding him for failing to provide basic things like clean water for them.

    Romney won Ohio in a squeaker. Santorum won enough  states to keep him going. Ron Paul and Newt gnash their teeth on the sidelines, but press onward.

    The government bought up seven million pounds of ammonia-treated beef slurry that even Taco Bell and McD's stopped using to feed our kids in school lunches....Yum!

    Dennis Kucinich, one of the last great Progressives, lost his primary race after the Republicans gerrymandered his old district out of existence...but Joe the Plumber won his primary and is running for a House seat.

    Michael Moore was on MSNBC during the election coverage. At one point he laughed and said, "I wonder if they'll show this footage at my military tribunal."

    Rachel Maddow said, "As long as it isn't a drone strike."

    They both laughed, but we live in a country where the President has claimed to power to assassinate American citizens without any due process and Congress is just fine with that. On the other hand, there was enough of an outcry that the President has backed away from indefinite military detention, so there's that. Murdering us without a trial is still OK though.

    And so it goes. And so it goes.

    More primaries and debates. More stupid moralizing about birth control as the public discourse lurches back to the era of saddle shoes and poodle skirts.

    We all wait anxiously for a puff of white smoke from Goldman Sachs to signal the anointing of the new Republican Presidential candidate. And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?

     Outside it's Amerika.


Monday, March 5, 2012

it's all one thing: empty houses and homeless Americans

Keep Away From Children...Really

      The newest cool geek toy, Buckyball magnets, is turning up in the news...and the ER. For the last few days I've been reading about tweens accidentally swallowing two of the tiny high-powered magnets while simulating a tongue piercing by placing the little rare earth ball magnets on top of and under the tongue.
     Now a three year old child has swallowed 37 of them.
 Doctors say the magnets snapped her intestines together and ripped three holes in her lower intestine and one in her stomach.

    "When I heard 37 magnets were swallowed, my nurse's mind raced to what taking 37 strong magnets could do to a fantastic little 3-year-old girl,and it frightened me to death,"

    The attraction between two or more of the magnets is strong enough to fold the small intestine double and tear through the intestinal wall.

    For more see kptv.

     Be seeing you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tattooed By Thor

The man in the photo has a Lichtenberg figure on his arm, a temporary tattoo that is the result of being struck by lightning.

Thanks to tywkiwdbi
For more on Lichtenberg Figures, see wikipedia

Be seeing you.

Images of Bliss

All Photos from faithinthegood

Be seeing you.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

What War Makes

The Virgin Father


 Meet Trent Arsenault. He is a computer security engineer, a 34 year-old virgin who lives in a warren of computers, electronics, and cables that he calls "The Borg Cube". He is also the father of far. He runs a one man peer-to-peer sperm bank out of his home. He posts his driver's license photo, pictures of his parents and his latest STD test results on his web site along with a link to his facebook page.
    The FDA learned of his operation and have filed a "cease manufacture" order against him...which taken literally would seem to be beyond the scope of that agency. The only people more upset with him than the FDA are his parents. While Trent was busy dealing with the FDA he neglected to keep in contact with his parents. His father, a prominent Pentacostal minister began searching the web and found the web site.

     Last March, his mother wrote of “the consequences of such depravatory giving of one’s seed to unknown and most likely degenerate individuals.” Trent had “dishonored and humiliated” the family, and his only hope was to “truly repent and embrace the precepts of the Bible.”

     Meanwhile Trent is getting a hundred sperm requests every few weeks.

     For much more see: nymag

     Be seeing you.

The Perfect Bribe

   The Zero Rupee note is a really quire brilliant device used to fight corruption. 
The notes are paid in protest by angry citizens to government functionaries who solicit bribes in return for services which are supposed to be free. Zero rupee notes, which are made to resemble the regular 50 rupee banknote of India, are the creation of a non-governmental organization known as 5th Pillar, which has distributed over 1.3 million pieces since their inception in 2007. The notes remain in current use in 2011.

    Thanks to feastingonroadkill

     Be seeing you.