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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Ghosts of the Aether

     A long time ago I remember reading a story. I think it was by Ray Bradbury. It feels like something he would have written. The government of Earth had destroyed nearly all of the works of fantasy and fiction. The ghosts of the authors remained though, on Mars as long as one copy of their work remained or one person remembered the words.

     The internet is like that. No one ever really dies if they survived into the late 90s or so or if they left media behind. The interview that I was supposed to have with Tim Leary before the cancer overtook him seems still possible. His web site still remains long after his ashes waltzed into space with those of Gene Roddenberry. Robert Anton Wilson's site is there too. Which is as it should be.

     That sort of thing can ambush you emotionally. You go merrily scrolling down the long list of bookmarks looking for a page you need but have forgotten and there it is: The blog of your friend that died a year ago. The loss and regret all comes back like a cold draft from the attic of your mind. It hurts, but you can't delete the bookmark. that would be a little like him dying all over again...and so it waits there to ambush you again another year.

     Maybe that's why we throw these words out into the aether, so that we will live on in that far lesser fame like those ghosts on Mars.

     Be seeing you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Good Ol' Boys From Brazil

Immediately after the Civil War there were many in the South who were unwilling to accept the rule of the victorious Union. Sensing an opportunity to import skilled farmers, the Emperor Dom Pedro of Brazil sent recruiters into the cotton belt states in search of experienced farmers. The Emperor offered an incentive of land grants and tax breaks in exchange for immigration. Robert E. Lee begged them to stay, but about 10,000 accepted the offer and settled in an area near Sao Paolo where they formed a colony that they named Americana.

At first the Confederados kept to themselves much as other similar communities in other countries have, but after a generation or two began inter-marrying with the locals. Many others returned to the re-United States. However, enough remained to found a permanent community that remains today.
Ironically, although slavery remained legal in Brazil until 1888, the Confederados for the most part found under-paying native labor to be cheaper than keeping slaves. As time passed succeeding generations began speaking Portuguese and raising sugarcane rather than cotton.

Today Americano is a city of about 120,000 about a tenth of whom are Confederado descendants. Each year they have a fiesta in which they celebrate the old South of their origins.

A few years ago they finally removed the stars and bars from the city crest.

Be seeing you.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Red State Wants a Navy

       In Wyoming the House has passed legislation which will create a task force that will prepare the state in case the federal government collapses or the protesters come for them or what ever. Among the possible measures they are looking into are Wyoming creating its own currency, drafting its own military, and obtaining strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.

       “I don’t think there’s anyone in this room today what would come up here and say that this country is in good shape, that the world is stable and in good shape — because that is clearly not the case,” state Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, R-Thermopolis, said. “To put your head in the sand and think that nothing bad’s going to happen, and that we have no obligation to the citizens of the state of Wyoming to at least have the discussion, is not healthy.”

     Since Wyoming is totally land-locked, I for one would be interested to learn where they plan on putting the aircraft carrier.

Be seeing you.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

The GOP Overcoat

                                 Hey Guys?


     Remember these?
     If the Republicans get their way on contraception, get used to wearing these every time. 
     It will be the only reliable method of contraception left.

       Be seeing you.

Tongue-Piercing Steers Wheelchair

The device in the photo is a dental retainer similar to the ones a lot of us wore in our teens, but with circuitry embedded within and contacts at the six points shown in the diagram. A tongue stud makes contact with one of them to issue a steering command to the wheelchair. It can also synch with an iPod Touch or an iPhone. This invention opens up much greater ranges of mobility and communication for people with severe spinal injuries.

For more see wired.

Be seeing you

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Not Just a Pink Ribbon

   A series of photos of beautiful women who are breast cancer survivors. Technically NSFW, so if your boss is an asshole, beware. A powerful statement. My thanks to my favorite blog, .

The home page of that site:

The SCAR Project is a series of photos of young breast cancer survivors taken by a fashion photographer. It captures all of the emotional tumult that lies just beneath the surface of these wonderful women.

Be seeing you.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Next: Mail-Order American Brides?

     The heavy market *ahem* penetration of Viagra has combined with the internet and the lingering economic recession to produce a new twist on the on-line dating service: "Sugar Babies". The sites are just what they sound like. In a typical site older wealthy men can connect with younger, attractive women who wish to be kept in the manner to which they would like to become accustomed for a fee of $50 a month. Women, of course, can join for free.

     These sites now make up an astounding 10% of the on-line dating industry.

     "We are also noticing an increased number of college students signing up,"  says the founder of one web site. "When I started the site, roughly one in four of what I call my 'sugar babies' were at college; now, that figure is closer to four out of 10. University fees have got more expensive, and loans are harder to come by so, for many young women, getting a sugar daddy becomes an increasingly attractive option."


Photo from: feastingonroadkill
Source: independent


Food For Face/Palm

55% of bypass machine surgeons polled admitted to talking on their cell phone during surgery.
Six out of seven Americans who are employed work in the service industry.
Goldman Sachs is Mitt Romney's largest contributor. 
They are Barack Obama's second largest.
28% of Americans believe the population of the U.S.A. is over one billion.
Animals raised for human consumption consumed almost 29,000,000 pounds of antibiotics in 2009.
Humans consumed only 7,000,000 pounds.

Be seeing you.
Source: Harper's List.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rejected Newsweek Covers They Should Have Run

Two of the rejected covers for the coming issue:

Be seeing you

Fermented Auk: It's What's For Dinner

    Thanks to TYWKIWDBI for finding an item of Innuit cuisine from Greenland that is even more daunting than the Norse Lutefisk! Kiviaq, which I believe is named for the sound one makes if one is downwind when dinner is served, is made from thirty-or-so auks sewn-up in a seal skin. The pod-o-auks is sealed air-tight and buried under a large rock. It is left there to properly age for from three to eighteen months.
    Then the sealskin pod is opened and the contents eaten raw.

     " They always eat it outside as the smell is so overpowering that it would linger inside the house for weeks. The seal fat helps to both preserve and tenderise the bird meat so it can be eaten raw and whole, bones and all. It was quite a sight to see the family holding bird’s legs in their teeth and stripping off the feathers before chowing down on large parts of the bird."  

     There are some dishes that I always wonder how people learned how to prepare. This, has earned a place at the top of my list.

     Be seeing you.

The Auk in happier days.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Ultimate Solution to Baldness....Sort Of

                                A tattooed buzz-cut.


. Each pigment color is designed to look just like an actual short hair that might be growing in that place. The end result is this cropped buzz cut look.

For more see: bitrebels

Be seeing you.

Feline Fonts

Be seeing you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Random Images of Beauty

    When the news gets too real I go to a wonderful site called faithinthegood and I always feel better. Here's a small sample:

Be seeing you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Extreme Rural Olympics

   I know that "extreme" is an extremely over-used modifier, but in this case it is appropriate.

    Every year since 1933 the Indian village of Kila Raipur has held its rural sports competition, in which people compete in foot races and other, somewhat more unusual balancing a plow in their teeth.

The dental car pull...

and of course, the Senate confirmation hearing:

and finally, the general badassery freestyle triathlon:

Read more about the Rural Olympics at Wikipedia and at Kila Raipur Sports’ official site.

Be seeing you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Courage to Stand Alone

From Wikipedia
August Landmesser was a worker at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and is best known for his appearance in a photograph refusing to perform the Nazi salute at the launch of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel on 13 June, 1936. He had been a Nazi Party member from 1931 to 1935, but after fathering children with a Jewish woman, he had been found guilty of “dishonoring the race” under Nazi racial laws and had come to oppose Hitler’s regime….
[He] was discharged from prison on 19 January, 1941…. In February 1944 he was drafted into a penal unit, the 999th Fort Infantry Battalion, where he was declared missing in action and presumably killed.

As great a hero as any who ever fell in combat.

Auf wiedersehen.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Brothel Saves Ten Beds For The Homeless

     Because the homeless are at risk during the cold snap that has struck much of Europe, a brothel owner in Vienna, Austria has opened his heart and his doors to the homeless of that city.
     Peter Laskaris, the owner of The Red Room Laufhaus, began opening his doors to the homeless when temperatures began to hit 20 below zero.

     He explained: "We are not really doing much business in the current cold weather anyway and it is the school holidays - a lot of people are off away with their families. Lots of our rooms are empty and it seemed a shame not to use them for a good cause."  He currently has ten empty rooms that are available, other services not included. 

    Each room comes with a bed and a private shower. Each guest will receive clean bedding and towels each day. He is also providing a hot meal for each guest.

     He hopes to start a trend. If the other brothels in the city follow suit it might well save quite a few lives.

    He shames us with his virtue.

    Be seeing you.

     croatiantimes via arbroath

Friday, February 10, 2012

I Got Plenty of Mutton

     This morning I read this headline at one of my favorite news sources:


    The story went on to say that the domestic sheep was much more diverse than other domestic animals and suggested that further inbreeding could bring much higher yields of meat and wool. 

     I am sure they will get right to work on that. 

     For a nation that claims at the top of its lungs to be Christian, America has the most materialistic culture on this poor planet. I don't just mean "materialistic" in the sense that we place too much importance on the acquisition of things, but also in the philosophical sense; we act as though living creatures, including all too often our fellow men, were only machines made of meat. We build factory farms and trade diversity for specialization and efficiency. We crowd cattle and swine and chickens together so closely that we have to saturate their feed with antibiotics to keep them from all sickening and dying. 


    We produce meat that is extruded in a viscous slurry and we eat it because it is treated with chemicals that enhance the aroma to the point that you can smell a fast food joint a quarter mile away.

    And now we are beginning to pay the price for our folly.  Flesh-eating bacteria, MRSA(methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) , and a new strain of TB that NO antibiotic will stop are all a result of dumping antibiotics into the food chain. At the same time, the crowded conditions in factory farms are breeding the next strain of influenza in an avian or porcine host.

     As we over-specialize and narrow the gene pool of domestic animals and plant life they become more susceptible to plagues. Right now the table banana is being ravaged by disease. Entire plantations are being wiped out and there is no way to stop it. This happened before 50 years ago and a new strain, the one we are eating now, was introduced to replace the one that was wiped out. This time there is no close replacement that is both sweet and tender. 

    All this because we forget to accord other living things even a modicum of respect for what they are, and not simply how to most efficiently squeeze the most profit out of its carcass. 

    Be seeing you.

    For more one some of these topics see:
    truth-outA Humane NationDer Spiegeleatdrinkbetter

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The First Art Gallery

   What are believed to be the world's oldest works of art have been discovered on Spain's Costa del Sol.

     The six paintings of seals are 42,000 years old and are the only known art to have been created by Neanderthal Man.

Be seeing you.

Homeland Security Snow Cones

 According to the Greenville Daily News, the Board of Commissioners in Montcalm noted that they had been presented with a snow-cone machine, and while they probably appreciated this unexpected gift, they did inquire as to whether the $900 treat-maker was an appropriate use of homeland-security dollars. (Apparently, another county - anonymous for now - requested the machine, and somebody thought that was such a good idea that all 13 counties got one.)

“It is used to attract people so they can be educated and prepared for homeland security,” [Sandeep] Dey said from his office in Muskegon. “More importantly, they (homeland security officials) felt in a medical emergency the machine was capable of making ice packs which could be used for medical purposes.”



A WTF, Wrapped In An Enigma...

     Strange goings on in Zimbabwe...again!

     Last month a man in Bulawayo was hounded from his neighborhood by his neighbors who claimed he was keeping a gaggle of goblins that were raping his and the neighbor's wives.

Now, the Minister for Water Resources, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, has told a Senate committee that mermaids have frightened away workers at three different dam sites in the Midlands. 
     "Nkomo told a senate oversight committee that traditional chiefs are going to perform rituals to appease restive mermaids believed to inhabit water reservoirs in Gokwe and Mutare where workers are afraid to tread."

     Local legends say that mermaids will carry humans away underwater and if there is an outcry their victims will never be seen again. It is also said that the victims may return as spirit mediums if not mourned.

Nkomo said that he tried to hire White workers who didn't know the local legends, but they were frightened away too.

Be seeing you.

Mermaid via Sloth Unleashed