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September 24, 2009

The Yes Men:

Andy Bichlbaum, co-founder of activist group the Yes Men, emerged after 26 hours in New York City's central lockup with all charges against him dismissed.[1 ]

"The judge just laughed," said Bichlbaum. "The police had a less well-developed sense of humor - and, it turned out, much less regard for the law. But all in all, I'm ecstatic that they arrested me."

At 10am Tuesday, Bichlbaum was arrested and charged with trespassing, after he and 21 "Survivaballs" [2 ] gathered on New York City's East River and announced they were to going to "take the UN by storm" from the water, since all the land approaches were sealed. Once at the UN, they would supposedly use the Survivaballs to blockade the negotiations and refuse to let world leaders leave the room until they'd agreed on sweeping cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has demanded.[3 ]

The event was a "scenic and mediagenic way to call attention to what our leaders need to do in the run-up to Copenhagen," said Bichlbaum. [4 ] It was also the official inauguration of the Yes Men's "Balls Across America" series of civil disobedience actions, inspired by the call for direct action on climate change by website .
The Boys and Emily Dickinson PDF E-mail

"Because I could not stop for Death-
He kindly stopped for me…."

Waves of raucous laughter, “Fuck! Did you see that shut-out at lunch?”

“Shit yeah!”

It is every public school teacher’s onus that the system serves the dual purposes of education and free day-care, but what wonderfully awful juxtapositions this affords, as on the Friday before a full moon weekend when I had scheduled my Emily Dickinson video. The audiences were periods four and five, alike only in their average age of 17. The periods differ in that period four, before lunch, is controlled by several literate girls, fascinated by Dickinson and not ashamed to say so, while period five is under the spell of four Russian boys, very much in the tradition of Aykroyd and Martin's “Wild and Crazy Guys.”
Hitler paintings fail to attract interest PDF E-mail
Hitler paintings fail to attract interest
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Thirteen paintings created by Adolf Hitler have failed to attract a single bid at a Shropshire auction.

The artwork was up for sale in a historical documents sale at the Mullocks auction at Ludlow Racecourse yesterday.

The works included oils, pastels and watercolours, along with an etching of the Nazi leader playing chess, which was apparently created by his Jewish art teacher.
How I Spent my Summer Vacation PDF E-mail
How I Spent my Summer Vacation (or Aunt Matahariette Flees Pompous Pontificating Professors to Hang with Autistic Canadian Kid)

I agree with Sarah Palin that the best road trips are taken by plane.  So, this year I booked a flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to visit my brother Leon (see "Men's Planet II: The Apartment" on who has been afflicted with an acute case of Empty Nest Syndrome ever since my nephew went away to college a decade ago.

This past year was stressful.  Not only did I endure my Long, Epic Battle with the Faceless Monster Verizon (see July 16th "Corpse"), which began in December, '08 and was resolved to my dissatisfaction in May of '09, but my neighbors, Dave and Dean, a gay couple, had solicited my help in a fierce custody battle over a sweet-tempered puppy, Bernardo.  Bernardo was not the name given to him by his original owner (hereafter referred to as "Prima Donald.")  Dave and Dean (hereafter referred to as "Da Boyz"), have a joint crush on George Chakiris, the Greco-American actor who played Bernardo, Leader of the Sharks in "West Side Story."  Da Boyz worried that a name change might be traumatic to their canine charge.

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Active ImageSeptember 21, 2009

Early this morning, nearly a million New Yorkers were stunned by the appearance of a "special edition" New York Post blaring headlines that their city could face deadly heat waves, extreme flooding, and other lethal effects of global warming within the next few decades. The most alarming thing about it: the news came from an official City report.

Distributed by over 2000 volunteers throughout New York City, the paper has been created by The Yes Men and a coalition of activists as a wake-up call to action on climate change. It appears one day before a UN summit where Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will push 100 world leaders to make serious commitments to reduce carbon emissions in the lead-up to the Copenhagen climate conference in December. Ban has said that the world has "less than 10 years to halt (the) global rise in greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences for people and the planet," adding that Copenhagen is a "once-in-a-generation opportunity."

Although the 32-page New York Post is a fake, everything in it is 100% true, with all facts carefully checked by a team of editors and climate change experts.

"This could be, and should be, a real New York Post," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men. "Climate change is the biggest threat civilization has ever faced, and it should be in the headlines of every paper, every day until we solve the problem."
“Governor Nelson Rockefeller declares Woodstock a national disaster area.” Woodstock was on the front page of the New York Times for days. My mother, who had allowed her barely 16 year old daughter to go to this rock concert, was appalled. But to her it wasn’t the lack of amenities that was horrifying, it was the sight of her daughter dressed in a blue work shirt and blue bell bottom jeans, surrounded by half-a-million other young people attired in the same fashion that ran a chill down her spine; it reminded her of something more sinister and repugnant, though in her day they wore brown.  In our matching uniforms of blue, armed with tents and sleeping bags, and with the help of an endless downpour we were about to turn the green upstate fields on Yasgur’s farm into a mire.
In the pelting rain the pasture turned pigsty -- a vast expanse of boot sucking mud and oozing offal. With only 40,000 tickets sold and 500,000 people present the concession stand ran out of cokes about the time the Porto-Sans overflowed.
Excerpt from "The Egyptian Chronicles" PDF E-mail
Excerpt from "The Egyptian Chronicles: How a Mom-and-Son Duo Skirted Terrorists, Dodged Suitors and Heard the Gods Speak"

The Supreme Guide of the Council of Antiquities of Egypt is a small, compact sparkplug of a man fond of his laser pointer. With typical modesty, he announces, "I have a great respect for Howard Carter--Carter never moved Tut's remains. He left that to me."

Tutankhamen's tomb is projected on screen and submitted to precise laser probing while I take my seat as discreetly as possible in the conference hall of the new Biblioteka Alexandrina, the latest incarnation of the renowned Library of Alexandria, one that meets current seismic and fire-safety standards. No crazy Caesar is going to set this place aflame--there are no books to burn. In an institution prepared to house over three-million volumes, a flimsy 250,000 fill the shelves. All the money for the library was spent on the architecture.
Teheran Revolution: Remembering American History PDF E-mail
In 2009 the world watches crowds in the streets of Teheran. Reporters searching for perspective remind us that it’s been thirty years—since the revolution of 1978-1979--since so many people have taken to the streets of Teheran. At the same time some American politicians have apparently developed amnesia about Persian-American history. There are calls, by some, for America to talk loudly about supporting democracy in Iran, forgetting that our history in Iran means Iranians would see such talk as hypocritical.

No one in America, not even President Obama, speaks frankly about the details of America’s history in Iran or why that history has left such an abiding rage towards America in Iran.

I was fortunate enough to be on the streets of Teheran in the fall of 1978, one of the few Americans who witnessed firsthand the popular rage that lead to the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I walked the length of what was then called Pahlavi Street, crossing Teheran from North to South, on November 4, 1978. One year later American embassy officials were seized as hostages, on November 4, 1979. They were taken hostage in 1979 to commemorate the events that happened one year earlier. While the world remembers the taking of the hostages at the end of the Iranian revolution I recall a day of rage, a year earlier.
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