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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Leda and the Face/Palm (NSFW)

The London Metropolitan Police admitted there had been no complaints, but none the less they took a dim view of Derrick Santini's modern rendering of Zeus ravishing Leda, the myth of the conception of Helen of Troy.

An officer took exception as he passed  the Scream gallery in Bruton Street on a bus. He alerted colleagues and two uniformed officers from Harrow arrived to demand the work be removed.

Jag Mehta, sales director at the gallery owned by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood’s sons Tyrone and Jamie, said: “We asked them what the problem was and they said it suggested we condoned bestiality, which they said was an arrestable offence."

As it happened, the exhibition had ended and the item in question was about to be packed for storage when the police arrived. The constables were all totally unaware of the myth depicted in the artwork, which is a sad commentary on the priorities of modern education.

For more see: thisislondon

Saturday, April 28, 2012


   Bibliomules are used to "spread the joys of reading"
 in the foothills of the Venezuelan Andes, especially in the most rural areas where more conventional transport cannot reach.

     For more see: bbc.

    Be seeing you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Computer Therapy

The following is a transcript of a conversation between a young woman giving the Touring Test to the ELIZA program (Named after the character in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion) in the Project MAC computer at MIT in 1966.

     Those familiar with non-directive counseling may feel a chill.

     Client: Men are all alike.
ELIZA (a computer): In what way
Client: They’re always bugging us about something or other.
ELIZA: Can you think of a specific example
Client: Well, my boyfriend made me come here.
ELIZA: Your boyfriend made you come here
Client: He says I’m depressed much of the time.
ELIZA: I am sorry to hear you are depressed
Client: It’s true. I am unhappy.
ELIZA: Do you think coming here will help you not to be unhappy
Client: I need some help, that much seems certain.
ELIZA: What would it mean to you if you got some help
Client: Perhaps I could learn to get along with my mother.
ELIZA: Tell me more about your family
Client: My mother takes care of me.
ELIZA: Who else in your family takes care of you
Client: My father.
ELIZA: Your father
Client: You are like my father in some ways.
(more at the link below)

     From laphamsquarterly

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Most Dapper Demonstration

Some nattily-attired chaps protesting the coming of Abercrombie and Fitch to Savile Row, London.

The protest began in earnest at 10:15am, when chumrades in arms marched around the corner to Abercrombie’s flagship store on Burlington Gardens, stabbing the air defiantly with home-made banners declaring “Give Three-Piece a Chance”. On the very steps of enemy HQ, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer led the troops in song, chanting “All we are saying is, give three-piece a chance” adapted from John Lennon’s original.
Once pitched outside A&F’s flagship store, demonstrators were greeted by hordes of press, both local and international, accumulated on the opposite pavement. Also in attendance was the Chief inspector of Savile Row Constabulary, who commented to one of the protestors: “In all honesty, this is the best dressed demonstration I have ever seen.” We hope the Chief Inspector will add his signature to our petition and help keep riff-raff off the Row.

    From The Chap. Photo from same via My Ear Trumpet Has Been Struck By Lightning.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Burning Art In Italy

On Monday artist and museum curator Antonio Manfredi burned a painting as the artist watched via Skype. Manfredi has stated that he intends to burn three paintings a week in protest of  the harsh cuts the austerity measures have imposed on cultural funding.

In February Manfredi had sent a dossier containing photographs of the over one thousand paintings in the museum's collection to Lorenzo Ornaghi, the Director of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage. The following is a text of an e-mail sent to Ornaghi:

“At 6 PM in front of the entrance of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum (CAM), the work of Séverine Bourguignon was consumed by fire. The canvas was burned by the director, Antonio Manfredi, who waited all day for a signal from the institution’s staff. Filled with anger and emotion when the signal did not arrive, Manfredi, the staff of the museum, and the artist herself (via Skype), gathered to sacrifice a work of art from CAM's permanent collection. The French artist has confirmed the decision to destroy her work, a decision which she called “political,” necessary, and compelling in the face of these adverse circumstances. Tomorrow, again at 6 pm, Neapolitan artist Rosaria Matarese will set fire to one of her works. CAM, meanwhile, is waiting for someone to intervene.”

I hope the Italian government cares more about art than ours does.

Be seeing you.

From: artinfo

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Racism, or a Matter of Perspective?

    The Swedish Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Lijeroth, has become the focal point of a controversy in which she has been accused of racism. There have been calls for her resignation. It all began when the Minister participated in an art installation at Stockholm's Moderna Museet as part of World Art Day on April 15th. As part of the event, which was intended to call attention to the issue of female circumcision, the minister began carving a large cake made in the life-sized image of a Black Woman, starting at the clitoris.

"Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the "genital mutilation cake" on his Facebook page.

"Before cutting me up she whispered, 'Your life will be better after this' in my ear," he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake."

The National Afro-Swedish Association is incensed and is demanding that the Minister resign. 

Adelsohn Liljeroth was sympathetic but responded with,  "I understand quite well that this is provocative and that it was a rather bizarre situation," she said.

"I was invited to speak at World Art Day about art's freedom and the right to provoke. And then they wanted me to cut the cake." 

More at:

Be seeing you.

Donating Your Head to Theater

   When the Polish composed Andre' Tchaikowski died in 1982, he donated his body to science, but had left instructions requesting that his head, or rather his skull, be donated to the Royal Shakespeare Company in the hope that he might have the role of the exhumed Yorick in Hamlet.


     Obviously a fellow of infinite jest.

   From wikipedia via twentytwowords

Saturday, April 14, 2012

One Day of GOP News Feed

“One of the problems we have even as Christians is I’ll guarantee you most Christians cannot tell you the two parables Jesus taught about capital gains tax, nor can the tell you the four verses in the Bible that condemn the estate tax, nor can they tell you what Jesus said in Matthew 20 about minimum wage,” 

According to Florida news blog Sunshine Slate, in addition to his remarks on Tuesday accusing members of the House Democratic Caucus of beingmembers of the Communist Party, the Freshmen Representative and tea party favorite has declared that the proposed 10 percent tax on tanning beds proposed in the Affordable Care Act is “racist.”

And finally: 

     These people make Uwe Boll look like Fellini.

      They make Dan Quail look like a statesman.

     They make Nixon look...good:



Friday, April 13, 2012


Thanks to Will Shetterly for finding this wonderful parable that is as valid today as ever.

Just click on his name above.

 Be seeing you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Gate of Hell

         "The way to Hell is easy: 
Night and day the gates of black Ditis stand open."

 While drilling in 1971, Soviet geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of 230 ft. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to burn it off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas is still burning today. Locals have dubbed the cavern "The Door to Hell".

Images: twentytwowords

 Also: wikipedia

Be seeing you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Paranoids Without Partners

    Just the thing for the Glen Beck fan living in his mom's basement on your shopping list!

Hook up with someone who'll skin and eat you when the canned food runs out!

     Yes, it's real: survivalistsingles

     Be seeing you.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fighting A War On Drugs: An Army Under the Influence


 I knew a lot of guys who came back from Viet Nam who spoke with a mixture of awe and affection of the military issue Dexadrine that was handed out like candy on combat missions. Modern wars and an all volunteer army in which a soldier may serve as many as five or six combat tours require an host of new pharmaceutical accessories for the soldier in the field.

     The devil is in the side-effects.

     "After two long-running wars with escalating levels of combat stress, more than 110,000 active-duty Army troops last year were taking prescribed antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs, according to figures recently disclosed to The Times by the U.S. Army surgeon general. Nearly 8% of the active-duty Army is now on sedatives and more than 6% is on antidepressants — an eightfold increase since 2005."

     "The pharmacy consultant for the Army surgeon general says the military's use of the drugs is comparable to that in the civilian world. "It's not that we're using them more frequently or any differently," said Col. Carol Labadie. "As with any medication, you have to look at weighing the risk versus the benefits of somebody going on a medication."

    True, but the average civilian isn't carrying a fully automatic weapon in a highly stressful situation while trying to function on insufficient sleep.

     Now it has come out that in the case of  Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is accused of killing 17 Afghani civilians, the defense attorney has requested a list of all the medications that the accused had been prescribed.

     "Some troops in Afghanistan are prescribed mefloquine, an antimalarial drug that has been increasingly associated with paranoia, thoughts of suicide and violent anger spells that soldiers describe as "mefloquine rage."

     Much more at: latimes

     Be seeing you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Spanish Flu Revisited

In the late 1990s a perfectly preserved victim of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed millions was discovered and exhumed:

In a mass grave in a remote Inuit village near the town of Brevig Mission, a large Inuit woman lay buried under more than six feet of ice and dirt for more than 75 years. The permafrost plus the woman’s ample fat stores kept the virus in her lungs so well preserved that when a team of scientists exhumed her body in the late 1990s, they could recover enough viral RNA to sequence the 1918 strain in its entirety. This remarkable good fortune enabled these scientists to open a window onto a past pandemic—and perhaps gain a foothold for preventing a future one.

via Sloth Unleashed, which has the coolest name of any blog I visit!

Be seeing you.