World Domination Update
“Weird Scenes inside the Gold Mine”
vol 3, iss 2

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”
                                            —Matthew 3:3

Secret word for the day: Calendar Vampire
Site of the Week: Gothic Martha Stewart
Conspiracy under construction: Mr. Rogers
Cheese of the Week: Topeka Sheep’s Milk
Now Playing: Frank Zappa, Zoot Alures


in this issue:

·  Random rants & ramblings
·  A Wilde idea about Mr. Rogers
·  Pauline proof of purchase
·  Hedgehog crop circles?
·  shade’s salutation

hi, kids!

First off, I’d like everyone to welcome RoachHell aboard as the newest Branch Floridian recruit. saint converted her personally while defusing a potentially bad trip.  RoachHell seems to bear the distinction of being the only one who has ever fully understood saint in one sitting.  Granted she was on acid at the time, but she still groked the concepts.  Or said she did...

Not sure if that’s good or bad that it takes acid to make sense of saint.

Today is April 19th, the unofficial second anniversary of our sect.  Don’t forget to singe some hair or something similar in observance and homage.

Six years ago today the Branch Davidian stand-off conflagrated to a conclusion, and as Branch Floridians we should pause to reflect.  Aside from legal and civil concerns, Waco disturbs me because of its theological implications. Contrary to the FBI profilers, I do not believe that Koresh was a con man.  Koresh actually believed his own rhetoric, as did his followers.  Whether Koresh was correct is actually beside the point: he believed in his heart he was The Lamb.  Conventional Christianity today claims that individual Faith and Love in God and Christ is all that is needed to go to Heaven.  Koresh clearly had that Faith and Love, at least in his subjective point of view.  Assuming there actually is a Heaven, does this mean that he is in it?

This question disturbs me.  Although I do not agree with his most basic, founding beliefs, I am a big believer is subjectivity and recognize that he had the right to think what he wanted.  Koresh was a big believer in “think for yourself!” which explains his unique conclusions.  He even encouraged a form of free thought among his congregation, daring them to prove him wrong.  None of his followers could. I believe that I could, to my satisfaction if not his.  But while I do not agree with him, I at least understand him, and I feel sorry for him.  You know it's true: that ain’t no way for a man to die.  I believe that David Koresh belongs in a padded cell, not a prison cell or, alas, a cemetery.

Waco was clearly a Brain Police hit, served as a warning for those who dared to think for themselves instead of following the flock.  And it serves as a reminder that we should always be on our guard—TRUST NO ONE!—because some time soon there’ll be a Brain Police blizzard of shit.  As our own counter-culture movement grows, we must be aware of the lessons of Waco, because history has a tendency to repeat itself (especially when manipulated by translucent hands.)

Indeed, evidence of BP hostility toward our group has increased. According to saint, things have gotten downright weird around Desert Palm.  Numerous UPS vehicles were seen there in the past month, and the phone lines have been wretched—and unquestionably tapped.  saint said that he seems to be conducting an unusual amount of static electricity and is constantly zapping himself.  He also confided that he had 82 minutes of missing time back in early March.  Recently, half of Club e thought she heard a hit and run and even small arms fire in the parking lot outside the Oasis.  Speaking of fires, it seems no surprise that saint’s place is literally under fire: he hung a bucket outside his window and everyone takes turns launching cigarette butts from the Blue Light’s balcony at it. (saint had the first hit)  But most suspicious is the fire that broke out last month in the apartment across from the Oasis, directly under the Blue Light!

Although saint insists it was a Greek grease fire, I have to wonder if he’s just DENY(ing) EVERYTHING.  The Blue Light is home of the Ranch Peninsular heresy, and new information has filtered down about this twisted schism.  It seems they do indeed have at least one convert, with several more pending.  RP’s mania of ranch dressing is as extreme as BF zeal for barbeque sauce.  DK himself uses that sick shit on chocolate ice cream, veal parmesan, pizza, and even popcorn.  RPs also have a fear of yellow lighters, viewing them as extremely bad juju.  There have also been confirmed sightings of the infamous Blue Light itself turning blood red, and this can only be a sign of Divine Disfavor (or saint’s prankstership.)  But at a recent party DK recognized that his choosing ranch dressing over barbecue was an extension of THINK FOR YOURSELF.  saint said he saw a purple lightbulb above DK’s head when he finally understood this.  But perhaps most distressing, the Ranch hasn’t found Frank.

Kudos to Rev. 451, for nipping another potential schism in the bud.  Das Bazdardseitchen decided to take up the trinity of hot sauce, pot, and St. Pauli’s Girl.  Fortunately, the good Reverend has worked out an accord with this young intern, recognizing that the items in the trinity are not what’s important, it’s the metaphors for which they stand.

With so many splinters and imitators, it’s tough to know who’s who.

Which brings us to our next point.

Authentic Paul

It’s no secret that there was a flood of religious literature in the first couple of centuries after Jesus died.  The process by which some books were selected as “authentic” over others is an interesting process in itself, but ultimately 27 books were approved to be read to the masses and used for study.  Orthodox dogma insists authenticity for all of them. Modern and even ancient scholarship has rightfully questioned this.  It’s a two-way street: things which were authentic were left out of what has become The New Testament, and things that were spurious were allowed in.  Click here for proof.

Whether or not these books were inspired by God is something that cannot currently be empirically tested, and ultimately is a matter of faith for each reader.  However, whether each book was written by the person to whose name it is ascribed is another matter entirely.

By far the most prolific writer, in the New Testament at least, was Paul. Paul’s works are the earliest (known) Christian writings.  Paul also bears the distinction for which his authorship of certain epistles is uncontested.  Much of what Paul has written has vanished.  In what we call his First letter to the Corinthians (5:9) Paul mentions an earlier letter to them, which is now lost.  Colossians 4:16 mentions a Letter to Laoddicea; a universally-acknowledged forgery has been circulating for centuries but the original is no longer extant.

Indeed, there are almost as many pseudanonymous Pauline letters as there are authentic. It would seem that this was a problem even in Paul’s own time!  In his Second Thessalonian Letter (2:2) Paul mentions “letters” (note plural!) “purporting to be from us” that are leading the community astray (into apocalyptic frenzy, in fact.)  This is an interesting admission in and of itself, but to combat the problem Paul calls attention in 3:17 to something unique to his letters: he autographs them.  His signature is his seal of authenticity.

  “I, Paul write this greeting with my own hand.  This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write.”  

I would love to see results of a graphoanalasys.  Willing to bet he was right-handed.  But I digress.

As was customary, Paul dictated his letters.  Romans was dictated to Tertius (16:22) for example, but Paul signed his letters to seal them with his authenticity.  The simplest solution would be to compare the handwritings on the original letters, but that is impossible (unless the Vatican’s lying about what’s in their archives.)  The next best thing is to look to the books that at least reference it.

Paul’s authorship of Galatians has never been seriously questioned, so 6:11 comes as no surprise.  “See what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.”  This is actually the closest Paul comes to having a sense of humor (Ephesians 5:4 shows him to be singularly fun-free.)  Again, I’d be interested to see the original; I’m picturing big loopy letters in Koine.

Only three other letters have Paul’s signature: 1st Corinthians (16:21), Colossians (4:18) and Philemon (:19).  So counting Galatians and 2nd Thessalonians, only five epistles have his signature to authenticate them.  And this causes a big problem.

“I, Paul write this greeting with my own hand.  This is the mark in EVERY letter of mine; it is the way I write.” —2nd Thes 3:17

“Every” leaves no room to maneuver, so by that criteria, letters that do not have Paul’s signature are fake.  I can therefore say with authority that the following books are pseudonymous:

· Romans
· 2nd Corinthians
· Ephesians
· Philippians
· 1st Thessalonians
· 1st Timothy
· 2nd Timothy
· Titus

No type of signature or claim to authorship is in Hebrews, either.  The Epistle to the Hebrews has always been anonymous, but when Jerome translated the Vulgate he titled it as Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews and started the tradition of Paul’s authorship.  The lack of a signature is yet another nail in the coffin of that theory.  My favorite theory for authorship of Hebrews is Onesimus, the slave subject of Philemon (:10).  I don’t buy that for a second, but it’s my favorite theory.

Speaking of theories I don’t buy for a second, pack this in your pipe and puff it:

Mr. Rogers Neighborhood recently celebrated its 30th year on tv.  MRN showed kids it was ok for a mild-mannered man to wear a sweater, live alone, and have complex conversations with puppets in imaginary lands.

I’m sure everyone’s watched it, either as a kid or with their kids.  Seen it recently?  Well, the show hasn’t changed, and neither has Fred Rogers.

I mean that quite literally: Fred Rogers has not changed.  Other than his hair graying, he has not aged a day.  The man looks exactly like he did when I watched him 25 years ago.

This is not without precedent, of course.  Dick Clark is a scandal and conspiracy in himself (K-Dog says “Dick Clark is a little snugglefuck”) but no one can deny that he isn’t aging, either.

Anyone notice a pattern?  Central media figures who have enormous exposure to our youth are not growing old.

Digging a little deeper, we find evidence dating back to the dawn of photography that Fred and Dick haven’t aged.  I once saw stock newsreel footage of a Depression soup line, and one of the ladlers had an uncanny resemblance to Fred Rogers.  In the famous Civil War picture of (a drunken) Ulysses S. Grant, the Captain at the table in the background (second from left) is unquestionably Dick Clark.  And a marble bust was recently unearthed in what was a Roman colony outside Pamplona, Spain.  The top of the head is missing, but the jawline is Fred’s, and the figure is wearing a sweater, not a toga.

100 years ago, Oscar Wilde wrote a book called The Portrait of Dorian Gray.  Dorian had a picture of himself painted, and over the years he grew older but his body looked exactly the same as the day the portrait was drawn.  It was his portrait that aged instead.  Good book.  Anyway, I propose that Fred Rogers and Dick Clark have portraits up in their attic that must be truly wizened and weathered by now.

I also suspect the artist who created these was Andy Warhol.  Andy was another one who didn’t seem to age a day.  Perhaps Andy had a portrait of himself which was somehow destroyed back in ’89, causing his sudden death.

The Hedgehog Corner

By Harriet the Hedgehog

Crop circles are a relatively recent—and suspiciously English—phenomenon that have caught a lot of conspiratorial and new age attention.  Contrary to what the Brain Police want you to think, those two gnarly old goat dudes in Great Britain didn’t do all of them (but they are responsible for most of the anal-probing cattle mutilations.)

Scientific explanations of weird wind vortices are as unconvincing as the other extreme, usually involving UFOs or at least aliens.  Frankly, I’m surprised no one’s blamed “Satanists,” especially since a suspiciously sizable chunk of all crop circles have occurred near Stonehenge.

In the summer of 1989, English farmer Geoff Cooper found several circles in his field, and his suspicions turned to a near-by military base.  “We thought their helicopters were doing it on exercises,” he explained, “but they sent an expert round and he said a helicopter could only make that shape if it was flying upside down and stationary.”

Sounds like that new stealth technology, as shade would say, but wait!

Cooper’s neighbor had a different theory.  He believed that the circles were caused by hedgehogs rolling around in the field.  However, he calculated it would take 40,000 of them to do it.

42,421 to be exact.

That’s the hedgehog attendance at the wedding of Chuffington Hedgehog to his highschool sweetheart, Prickles of the clan McWhisker. It was the social event (for British hedgehogs) in the summer of ’89, and was indeed held in the back yard of poor Mr. Cooper.

So for that, we plead “it’s a fair cop.” However, we can take no further responsibility for other crop circles.

(for those who doubt the above story, click here)

that’s it for now,



© 1999 (III,ii)