Monday, November 23, 2015


1. Thanks to my friend and creative partner Marc Roussel (hang in there, bud!) for sending me a link to this pretty nifty webcomic by a couple of artists who go by the name Lunatik. They describe their work as: "our little throwback to 1940's Sci Fi comics with a touch of David Cronenberg illustrated by our friend José Cobá. David and I are very excited for you guys to see what we have in store for next year (hint: you can see a preview at the very end), so please join us in 2016, we promise we will have fun together." As you can probably tell from the image above, the comic has a touch of Kirby as well as a soupcon of Steranko. I thought it was pretty nifty, and am therefore pleased to share it with y'all.

2. And here's another nifty webcomic, this one an ongoing tumblr titled "The Hairs on the Back of Your Neck", featuring animated gifs derived from spine-chilling single-sentence horror stories. The artwork is exquisite, which is a very frou-frou word, but it happens to fit perfectly in this case. I mean, take a gander at that gorgeous piece of illustration, above!

3. And finally for today, a stunning new music video from one of the century's most important popular artists: "Blackstar", by the one and only David Bowie. The song is apparently going to serve as the theme for an upcoming British crime drama called The Last Panthers (about Eastern bloc jewel thieves), but the video gives precious little indication of that. What it does give us, however, is a vast array of references to everything from the heaviest of heavy-duty Modern masterpieces to the lightest of pop entertainments. In coming days, I'll be attempting to catalog these references right here on the Daily Dirt Diaspora blog. So keep your eyes peeled!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


As someone whose spirit brims with unconditional love for the hand-crafted mid-western cow-town science-fiction puppet-show that is Mystery Science Theater 3000, I have often despaired that I may never find a way to properly thank the show's creator -- Minnesota's own Joel Hodgson -- for the countless hours of laughter, joy, education and enlightenment that his creation has given me over the years. Furthermore, I suspect that there are quite a few others out there among my readership who feel roughly the same way as I do. I am happy to report to you all that now, over a decade and a half after the show aired its final episode... THERE IS A WAY. Please watch the embedded video and take any and all appropriate measures to make this particular crowd-funding effort into the kind of runaway success that it so totally deserves to be.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


As you may have heard, Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi is urging fans of weird fiction to boycott the World Fantasy Awards over their decision to cave into the demands of politically correct Social Justice Whiners who believe Lovecraft was too racist to deserve being the subject of a bust representative of their annual award. I urge any of my friends who feel similarly about this subject to join me in joining him in his efforts.

Here's part of what Joshi wrote at his blog:

It has come to my attention that the World Fantasy Convention has decided to replace the bust of H. P. Lovecraft that constitutes the World Fantasy Award with some other figure. Evidently this move was meant to placate the shrill whining of a handful of social justice warriors who believe that a “vicious racist” like Lovecraft has no business being honoured by such an award. (Let it pass that analogous accusations could be made about Bram Stoker and John W. Campbell, Jr., who also have awards named after them. These figures do not seem to elicit the outrage of the SJWs.) Accordingly, I have returned my two World Fantasy Awards to the co-chairman of the WFC board, David G. Hartwell. 
You can read the rest, including Joshi's letter to Hartwell, at the link above.

Monday, November 9, 2015



BONE TOMOHAWK is a gift of a film; a master-class in stylistic blending that deftly combines the best of what frontier westerns and the cannibal horror genre have to offer. Despite a deliberate, careful pacing, momentum never lags as each passing moment is chock-a-block with wonderful, infinitely quotable dialogue and some truly fine performances by the uniformly superlative cast of veteran character actors.

Kurt Russell is at his best here as the dogged, stalwart Sheriff Franklin Hunt, of the tiny, isolated town of Bright Hope, which itself is populated by a collection of the usual suspects, including an ageing but resourceful deputy, a prideful, upper-class veteran of the Indian Wars, a timid barkeep, some hard-working, hard-drinking frontiersmen, their dutiful, inordinately attractive wives, and a colorful bad man or two. Sid Haig and David Arquette are particularly excellent in the opening scenes.

Fair warning: BONE TOMAHAWK starts off in a relatively conventional manner that gives precious little warning before erupting into a grim, horrific, gore-drenched struggle for survival. Featuring one of the most gruesome on-screen killings in recent memory, BONE TOMAHAWK is not for every taste. It is, however, destined to become a cherished and beloved cult classic for as long as people watch, and love, bold and innovative genre motion pictures.

As is often the case with films that cater to a particular element of contemporary fandom*, there are many cliches that apply to the Soska Sisters' aesthetically ambitious and ethically ambiguous sophomore effort, AMERICAN MARY.  Its reach exceeds its grasp, for one. However, if you have no problem suspending your disbelief for 90 minutes - and if you're either a member or curious observer of the "body modification" subculture - then perhaps this cinematic exercise in feminist revenge fantasy is just the thing to spice up your Sunday evening at home with the better half.

AMERICAN MARY tells the story of Mary Mason (portrayed by Katherine Isabelle), a promising and attractive young medical student from Seattle whose money woes force her to consider moonlighting as a stripper. After giving Billy (the bar's sleazy owner) the world's most unenthusiastic massage, a situation arises that leads to Mary being offered $5,000 cash if she can save the life of a double-crossing gangster, whom Billy's associates have been torturing in the basement. Mary's reluctant agreement to do this, and her success in the deed, are what lead to her subsequent decision to enter into the wonderful, whimsical, oh-so-90's-retro world of body modification.

For a movie that is a self-described reaction to the recent wave of cinematic "extremism" in both Europe (think MARTYRS) and Japan (think Takeshi Miike), I found AMERICAN MARY to be more silly than disturbing. A list of every character, line of dialogue, location, motivation, or decision made in this film that could fairly be described as "ridiculous" would stretch quite a long way, indeed. A few key examples should be enough to give you a general idea of what I'm referring to...

First and foremost, there's the film's oddly childish Riot-Grrrl-meets-torture-porn weltanschaung. You get the feeling that the Soska Sisters really believe that shit can go down the way they portray it going down in this movie, particularly at the 100% male-run "surgery school" that Mary attends... up until the moment when the professors all gather to assist the vilest among them - a character who's been twirling his mustache since we first laid eyes on him - to drug and rape Mary (and film it!) in order to ensure that the world of surgical practice remains an elitist, patriarchal cis-pit of unchecked male privilege... or something.

There are other, more basic believability issues here, too. Like, for instance, if her money troubles are so bad, why doesn't Mary just move out of that massive, cathedral-sized apartment of hers, and into a place more befitting her status as a student? And don't get me started on the idea of complex operations being performed successfully, solo, without any preparation whatsoever. Apparently, all it takes to make it big in the lucrative world of plastic surgery is a surgical mask, some gloves, a bag full of sharp blades, and raw surgical talent! No wonder the Old Boy's Club is trying to fortify that Glass Ceiling of theirs; if the truth ever got out about how easy their job is, it would totally derail their Gravy Train!

From the arguably objectionable to the merely annoying, we have Billy's weird, unrequited crush on Mary, which goes nowhere, story-wise. The character of Lance, one of Billy's hired thugs, is another annoyance; what is it with tough guys in Canadian movies all having long, greasy hair, wearing sunglasses, leather jackets and gloves, and secretly being soulful, supportive gentlemen? And then there's the Soskas' infamous Hitchcock moment, wherein they appear as the Demon Twins of Berlin, stereotypically "shocking", pseudo-incestuous Goth sisters who prattle away in ersatz German accents and wish to feel "more connected" by exchanging left arms with one another. Just like the detective who occasionally pops by to briefly question Mary about her instructor's mysterious disappearance, they come and go with neither consequence nor raison d'etre.

So... is AMERICAN MARY completely worthless? Not at all. At times it's enjoyable in an early Rob Zombie kind of way; like flipping through back issues of Fangoria Magazine while listening to Alice in Chains on an old CD Walkman. The practical effects are convincing, and the film looks pretty good, with a dark, rich color palate and some interesting shot compositions. There are also a couple of particularly enjoyable performances.

Katherine Isabelle has been Canada's best Scream Queen since her star-making turn in the excellent feminist werewolf movie GINGER SNAPS, and she does her best to make Mary into a believable, complex, and sympathetic character... no mean feat, considering some of the nasty business she gets up to. That Isabelle brings so much to the character that isn't, strictly speaking, "on the page" shouldn't come as a surprise, seeing as the Soskas wrote the screenplay with her in mind. The other notable performance in this film is Tristan Risk as the strange but compelling character of Beatress. Performing through an impressive latex approximation of Betty Boop, Risk conveys a paradoxically jaded innocence that stayed with me for days.

Of course, while good performances and decent cinematography can go a long way, they don't, in and of themselves, make for a successful film; especially one with the issues I've described. So, ultimately, I'd describe AMERICAN MARY as a failure... but an ambitious and intriguing one. And seeing as it's still early in the Soskas' film-making career, I will definitely continue to check out their work.

* AMERICAN MARY is literally dedicated to Eli Roth!

Monday, October 26, 2015


A Graphic Novel by Derf Backderf

Jeffrey Dahmer has always struck me as an outlier among the grisly menagerie of celebrity serial killers that bubbled up from North America's subconscious and into the world of tabloid television back in the Reagan/Bush era. Ted Bundy, Henry Lee Lucas, Richard Ramirez and John Wayne Gacy all seemed unambiguously evil.

There was something different about Dahmer. His obvious relief at being apprehended and his apparently sincere remorse - he had no reason to lie, as he was going to be spending the rest of his life behind bars no matter what - stood in sharp contrast to his aforementioned cohorts, most of whom basked in the Satanic afterglow of their despicable deeds, courting media attention and reveling in their hard earned notoriety.

Enter John “Derf” Backderf, whose semi-autobiographical work has extensively chronicled the middle-American punk rock experience, and whose long-running comic strip “The City” has been a mainstay of metropolitan alt.weeklies for years. Derf’s unique visual flair and his solid storytelling chops would, in and of themselves, be enough to make him a fitting choice to bring the story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s formative years to the printed page, even if it weren’t for the fact that he witnessed those years with his own two eyes.

You see, the title of his book isn’t just some writerly conceit, a flourish of artistic licence. Backderf really was there, in the woody suburbs of Bath, Ohio as, one of the small group of people who counted themselves among Jeffrey Dahmer's "friends". And his wonderful book helps to explain, without ever excusing, how a damaged young boy could turn into a truly tragic monster.

Even the most ardent of serial killer aficionados is bound to find something new, here; some tantalizing new trivia, or insights into the origins of Dahmer’s major malfunction. I won’t do potential future readers the disservice of spoiling any of them. Instead, I will simply offer this endorsement: My Friend Dahmer is a worthy addition to the genre of serial killer lit, and as a graphic novel, it is a major milestone, perhaps one of the decade’s finest.


by Robert Crumb and David Zane Mairowitz

Anyone wishing to learn about the life and writing of the massively influential Modernist writer Franz Kafka will find a wonderful guide in this beautifully illustrated, very well researched and engagingly written biography.

Crumb is the undisputed master of the form, and it’s clear that he enjoyed his subject here. He is equally adept at portraying (relatively) mundane incidents from Kafka’s day-to-day routine as he is at vividly bringing to life many of the horrid images from Kafka’s most important works, many of which Mairowitz aptly describes in brief but illuminating capsule summaries.

This is one of those rare works that should appeal to serious Kafka scholars, students looking to bone up on the subject, and newbies who want to get acquainted with the author before delving into his work. 


By Tom Neely and Friends

This second collection of stories about the fictional relationship between hardcore punk/metal icons Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins may be an extended, inside joke, but it’s a great joke, well told - both narratively and visually - in an intriguing variety of ways.

Bringing together all of the second wave of Henry & Glenn Forever mini-comics, the book also features a full color gallery of cover art all done in instantly recognizable comic book styles, and more than half the book is made up of previously unpublished material.

The quality of the artwork varies, of course, but some of the work on display here is truly exceptional. One particularly excellent tale (my favorite in the collection) involves a mythical re-imagining of Danzig’s infamous backstage encounter with an overweight roadie who, after being viciously shoved by Danzig for making an “impertinent” request, knocks the diminutive rocker unconscious with a single punch. This graphic version of that oft-viewed encounter had me laughing so hard I had to put the book down and take a brief break, making it worth the price of admission all on its own.

Not that there aren’t any other good stories here - there are plenty. In fact, the second half of this weighty collection (over 250 pages) is, if anything, superior to the first half; so if you find your interest waning on first read, stick with it. Or hell, just jump right to the stories in the second half if you want; it's not like this is a chronological collection.

Bottom line, if you’re a fan of either Danzig or Rollins, you’ll find plenty here to appreciate, and you’ll be fending off your buddies’ attempts to “borrow” (i.e. steal) the damned thing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Well, I screwed THAT pooch pretty badly.

Just over half a year ago, I inaugurated a new section of this blog, which I christened “Jerky Reads It For You”, in which I proposed to break down each month’s issue of Harper’s Magazine (among other publications) into a kind of literary distilate, presenting all the most important insights, factoids, and revelations in easy-to-use bite-size form.

And then, after kicking things off with the March issue... silence.

I did get around to reading the April edition, and made extensive notes in the margins... but then I gave that issue away to my friend Mel, known to regular readers of the Daily Dirt (1999-2006) as the inventor of the multi-track video fireplace DVD.

Then I managed to destroy my freaking back somehow.

Then I got serious about working on an very promising film project, about which I hope to be able to reveal more in the coming months.

With all that going on, the issues of Harper’s - to which I subscribed pretty much exclusively for blogging purposes - accumulated, unread, in a sad, sprawling pile next to my bed.

Until now!

Yes, that’s right! You read right! “Jerky Reads It For You” is back with a vengeance, and in the spirit of completism, I’m going back and reading all those passed-over issues, beginning with the May 2015 edition of this storied and erstwhile publication! I’m sorry about the April issue, but I contacted Mel, and after six months, he no longer has any idea where it it might be.

As I’ve stated before, Harper’s isn’t perfect. However, I believe that it’s currently the only American general interest monthly worth reading regularly. In fact, I think it’s so good that these relatively recent back issues are just as worthy subjects as the freshest editions.

I hope that reading the following précis will give you ALL the vital information contained in this particular issue of Harper’s Magazine, thus saving you the trouble of having to read it, much less purchase it. So go ahead! Clip! Save! Enjoy!


Jim Tucker, University of Virginia professor and subject of a March edition profile about his work with children who exhibit shockingly detailed memories of past lives, writes in to argue that it is TOO possible, you guys!

The rest of the letters mostly refer to an excellent March edition cover story (The Spy Who Fired Me) about how advanced worker “supervision” software is taking a serious physical and mental toll on workers’ lives and livelihoods, specifically at UPS. The letter-writers chime in to say “Me too! My job sucks too!”, claiming that the same Panopticon-Lite philosophy is being applied to retail, manufacturing, and even academia... the poor darlings.


John Crowley takes the Easy Chair slot this month, presenting us with a playful meditation on his early self’s ambition to create a kind of “dream atlas”, mapping out the boundaries of the territories he explores during sleepy-time in a semi-scientific way, only to be simultaneously dejected and intrigued to find out that he’d been beaten to the post by others with the same idea... And that they’ve done a pretty good job of it. If you’re interested in the topic, check out the index of dream motifs put together by Calvin Hall and Robert Van de Castle, a taxonomic system devised in the 60’s and continuously revised up until the present day.


My favorite entries this month include the following juxtaposition:
- Number of yeas in the past decade in which the violent crime rate in the USA has dropped: 8
- In which the majority of Americans have believed that crime is on the rise: 10


[Speculation] Black Hat, White Hat 
A disturbing look at the myriad mysteries and suspicious shenanigans surrounding the lead up to, and aftermath of, the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist bombing by the Tsarnaev brothers. Masha Gessen looks at some of the dangerous conclusion-jumping engaged in by online vigilante sleuths and the so-called “alternative” media figures like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck who cheered them on.
Not that Gessen doesn’t find grounds for considering conspiracy. “The FBI,” she writes, “was less forthcoming about its own relationship with Tamerlan, which began in March 2011, when the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) alerted the agency to the existence of a Chechen from Dagestan living in the Boston area... who had been radicalized.”
And then there’s this:
In 2014, Human Rights watch released a report that analyzed many of those cases and concluded that “all of the high-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade, with four exceptions, were actually FBI sting operations--plots conducted with the direct involvement of law-enforcement informants or agents, including plots that were proposed or fed by informants.” ... The rhetoric and actions of the US government and its agents, in their outsize response and their targeting of specific communities, have probably done as much to create an imagined worldwide community of jihadists as have the efforts of al Qaeda and its allies.
[Branding] First Responders
Presents a selection of shameless tweets by corporations in the wake of horrific events. For instance, the Gap, which tweeted: “All impacted by #Sandy, stay safe! We’ll be doing lots of shopping today. How about you?”

[poem] The Craft Talk
Rae Armantrout’s shitty poetry about writing poetry. Ugh.

[Exchange] The Torment And The Engine 
Portions of an interview with Italian novelist Elena Ferrante by The Paris Review. Not much of interest.

[Lore] Spirit Guide
A hilarious list of Thai ghosts and other supernatural creatures that deserve to be featured in a comic book of some sort. My favorite is the Phret, which is a ghost of a greedy glutton, and who therefore has a mouth so small not a single grain of rice can pass through.

[Revision] Copy Cats
Journalism professor Matthew Ehrlich presents an interesting look at how cats have been reported on in the “serious” media (with a special focus on the New York Times) over the past couple centuries.

[Reconstruction] Municipal Bonds
An incredibly depressing series of excerpts “from a class action lawsuit filed in February against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, for excessively fining and imprisoning residents for minor infractions. In March, the Department of Justice concluded that Ferguson relies on the enforcement of code provisions to generate a significant portion of revenue and that the police disproportionately target black residents. African Americans make up 67% of the population of Ferguson, but receive 90% of tickets and face 93% of arrests.” Statistics are one thing, but the Devil really is in the details, like the story of disabled vet Alfred Morris, who... Well, check it out for yourself.

[Chronicle] Family Tradition
A brief but bone-chilling excerpt from Lynching In America, a report published by the Equal Justice Initiative. An excellent appendix to the Ferguson piece, above.

[Metaphor] Lunar Phrases
A bunch of references to the moon in poems by Frank Stanford, for some reason. “The moon is your old shirt”, indeed.

[Fiction] From the Palo Alto Sessions
Excerpt from the novel Book of Numbers, by Joshua Cohen. There is nothing to recommend it.

[Supplication] My App Runneth Over
Hilarious posts made to Instapray, an app that allows users to post and request prayers. All of these prayers happen to be about people asking for prayers to help them overcome their addiction to the Internet and/or the Instapray app. Fish in a barrel? Sure, but tasty fish, regardless.

Ways of Being Silent, by Tillie Olsen
A partial reprint of a long essay about silence from 50 years ago. A nice preamble to the issue’s major essay...

Digging for dark matter in an abandoned mine
By Kent Meyers

An overlong, overly artful examination of one man’s obsessive quest to discover, then measure, dark matter, using a 100,000 gallon tank full of dry cleaning fluid located at the bottom of an 8,000 foot deep abandoned mine in South Dakota. You can look up Rick Gaitskell and K.C. Russell to learn more about his work in this field.

One thing I learned from this article is that, in the Standard Model, “baryonic matter” is cemented together by the Strong Force, and that this makes up the visible matter of the universe.

The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) Detector was designed to find “theoretical bits of dark matter known as WIMPS”. They love their acronyms!

A bit of background:
In the 1960’s around the time Davis was setting up his tank of dry-cleaning fluid, scientists noticed that stars at the edges of our galaxy seemed to be orbiting faster than they should be, given the galaxy’s measurable mass and gravitational energy. There was only one reasonable explanation: the galaxy had to be more massive than it appeared. Physicists called this unknown mass Dark Matter. ... The matter we can see--in stars, nebulae, and dust clouds--is only 4 to 5 percent of what the universe actually contains. ... The preponderance of evidence now supports the reality of Dark Matter. 
Gaitsell and Shutt speak of an altogether different kind of darkness: darkness as substance and presence, not absence. This darkness may turn out to be both far ore ad far less tangible--because it redefines tangibility--than any religion, myth, or comic book has imagined darkness to be. 
In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn says that science is a product of Ancient Greece. ... It doesn’t take a Kuhnian however to see that science is pinned to culture. ... On the one hand, science is not motivated by utilitarian concerns; on the other, science leads to utilitarian wonders we cannot predict. In either case, however, science unmoors us by its very nature, which demands that it leave its own past behind, mo matter how assured and comfortable, if new knowledge indicates it should so be left. 
After a bunch of tests, their device has yet to find Dark Matter. However, “there are scientific successes that can look like failures to nonscientists, and this was one of them. ... Though he hadn’t found what he was looking for, he had mapped an area where looking was useless--and so had narrowed the territory that remained.”

For now, LUX’s core remains :the quietest verifiable place in the universe. Not the world, the universe.

As this pretentious article winds down, the author, Meyer, declares “it’s this poetry I appreciate, the womb of the universe in its dark bigness, its amniotic sea of particles touching that smaller womb we have recognized our tiny Earth to be.”


A country strips 210,000 of citizenship
By Rachel Nolan

Have you heard about the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal, and the ramifications of the decision it came to in the case of Juliana Deguis Pierre?
On September 23, 2013, the tribunal handed down ruling TC/0168/13, “The Sentence”, as it became known around the world. The tribunal revoked Deguis’ citizenship, declaring that her undocumented parents were “in transit” when she was born (in D.R.). Oh, and they also said the Sentence applied to ALL Dominicans with undocumented foreign parents, most of whom, like Deguis, have no family in Haiti, speak little or no Creole, and are not eligible for Haitian citizenship. The decision was retroactive, affecting anyone born in 1929 or later (the affectados). Nearly a quarter million Dominicans now find themselves stateless.
Critics of The Sentence seized on comparisons to Nazi Germany not only to show they were appalled but also because there are so few historical precedents for mass statelessness.

Latin American intellectuals of every political stripe have reacted strongly against The Sentence. Conservative Latin American writer Cargas llosa wrote that the Sentene is “a juridical aberration and seems to be directly inspired by Hitler’s famous laws of the 30s handed down by German Nazi judges to strip German citizenship from Jews who had for many years (centuries!) been resident in that country and were a constructive part of its society.”
It can be a shock for Dominicans to move to the United States and find themselves on the other side of the color line. “Until I came to New York, I didn’t know I was black,” wrote the Dominican poet Chiqui Vicioso. Some of the sharpest criticism of the Sentence, and of Dominican treatment of Haitians dmore generally, has come from the 850,000 or so Dominicans living in the United States. Many see their situation... as parallel to that of the Haitians in D.R.
This report ends with a brief meditation on the ridiculous nature of the border between Haiti and D.R. on the island of Hispanola. It’s literally an imaginary stripe... And the divide couldn’t be more stark. On one side, a relatively prosperous tropical paradise. On the other? A kind of living Hell of poverty, misery and want.

Wilian Bratton and the new police state
By Petra Bartosiewicz
After years of paramilitary-style law enforcement, largely driven by urban rioting in the 60’s and 70’s and by the war on drugs in the 80’s, reformers sought to repair broken relationships between police forces and the citizens they were supposed to be serving. Instead of patrolling streets like an occupying army, police would maintain public safety by engaging with communities. In practice this meant increased foot patrols that brought beat cops into direct contact with residents, as well as working groups that fostered dialogue between police and the community. ... The approach gained so much political currency that the crime bill signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1994 created a federal Community Oriented Policing Services program, which allocated billions of dollars to hire 100,000 new officers, thereby sweetening the policy’s appeal to local law-enforcement departments that were hungry for manpower. When applied thoughtfully, community policing aims to increase the legitimacy of police in the public’s eyes. ... After 9/11, the model was seen as insufficient to meet hte challenges of domestic terrorism. ... So arrived a new policing paradigm ... Known in official parlance as ”intelligence-led policing” and referred to by critics as “speculative policing”. Its arsenal includes cell phone tracking towers, street-camera systems, GPS trackers, automatic license plate readers, and facial recognition software. ... Much of this equipment came to cities at no cost to the municipalities, paid for by federal counterterrorism dollars. 
Los Angeles’ LAPD, of course, is up to its elbows in this Orwellian mess, thanks in part to William Bratton, the former chief of the department who is currently in his second stint as commissioner of the New York City Police Department and is probably the nation’s most famous law-enforcement officer. Once a champion of community policing, Bratton is now the most vocal proponent of intelligence-led policing.

Police spying in Los Angeles goes back to the city’s Red Squads in the early 20th century, when powerful trade organizations, seeking to thwart unions. Over time, these programs evolved into surveillance and infiltration of groups described as subversive, radical, disloyal, anti-war, dissident, etc. Considering the long-standing corruption and blatant criminality of the LAPD itself over the years, this poses some obvious and glaring problems. And it’s spread all the way across the continent.
Both (New York mayor Rudi) Giuliani and Bratton had been enormously influenced by the Broken Windows theory of policing, which argues that petty disorderly behavior, left unchecked, can lead to an increase in serious crime, and should therefore be aggressively targeted. ... But the policing innovation for which Bratton has become most famous, which coupled zero tolerance with data-driven approach, was CompStat, a crime-tracking system that launched in 1995. CompStat uses data analysis to identify crime hot spots, on the premise that allowing police to focus manpower will reduce crime rates. ... In 1996, Amnesty International reported that police brutality and excessive use of force in New York City, in many cases involving bystanders or directed against suspects already in custody, had become a widespread problem that needed to be urgently addressed.
CompStat has lead to a new, future-leaning iteration called “predictive policing”, which aims to accumulate data points so that police could antiipate where future criminal activity was likely to occur... Say hello to PredPol! This, of course, involves massive surveillance on an unprecedented scale. Bretton’s take? “I don’t think the public is too concerned with us using technology to prevent crime. People don’t get upset when doctors use technolgy to prevent Alzheimer’s or caner.”
The article author found some people who had run ins with the police based on surveillance in public spaces. Photographers being roughed up by thuggish cops threatening to put them on permanent “No Fly” or flagging lists, which means they’d be stopped at airports and even bus terminals for the rest of their lives. And then there are the SARs... Suspicious Activity Reports, bankrolled by Homeland Security and the FBI. Nothing for anybody to abuse their authority with there, right? A selection of SARs showed a sad plethora of busybodies reporting seeing “Asians taking pictures of public spaces” and professionals reading “potential terrorist propaganda” (which apparently means anything written in Arabic).
Face to face citizen encounters with police surveillance are the most tangible proof of the watchful gaze of law enforcement, but they are far fro the only evidence. As the narratives in many of the SARs make clear, the officers who initiate the reports often make no contact with their subjects, which means that the subjects themselves do not know that they are being monitored. .... The rules governing the storage of intelligene data are confusing and contradictory. The LAPD for example retains all SARs, even those that prove unfounded, for at least one year, and shares them with the local fusion center, which keeps them for up to five more years. The FBI is allowed to keep this data for THREE DECADES.
The Urban Areas Security Initiative was put together by Homeland Security for the apparent purpose of doling out tons of cash to municipalities in order to get them to willingly put together mass surveillance infrastructure. And cities have been eating up those ooey-gooey UASI funds. For instance, “the Stingray can reveal the location of a suspect’s phone in real time, but it sucks up the data of other nearby phones as well, including those that have no connection to the investigation.”

In 2012, UASI money was used to cover the $1,000 entry fees of hundreds of law enforcement professionals to a private island retreat off the |California coast, near San Diego, where they were made to take part in a massive “zombie invasion” exercise. Mad, but true!
The Drug War was the catalyst for the militarization of local law enforcement, in direct contravention of the Posse Comitatus Act, which was relaxed by Congress, which allowed for a massive flow of tanks, helicopters, bomb sniffing robots and assault rifles to local police. This is when urban communities became occupied territories.
Though rationalized on a counter-terrorism basis, predictive policing and the array of technological surveillance tools that enable it are generally levied against the same categories of citizens who have always attracted the attention of the police: minorities, protesters, activists and the poor. In 2005, Bratton announced that a cutting-edge camera surveillance network would be installed in the Jordan Downs housing project, one of Los angeles; poorest communities. The equipment was donated by Motorola. The next year, Bratton was appointed to Motorola’s board. 
In 2007, the LAPD attempted to establish a “Muslim Mapping” program similar to one created by the NYPD to monitor the city's ethnic makeup and demographics. Activist Hamid Khan says “We’re in a very critical moment where policies of social control are being legitimized as part of a national-security infrastructure. We’re moving beyond Broken Windows. Now they can get you before the window is even broken.”

Battling Britain’s most destructive invasive plant
By Sara Knight

Man, this one was a tough read. One bad issue can fuck up one’s appreciation for a magazine. I think the editors of Harper’s should consider that, and maybe occasionally put out slimmer issues instead of stuffing them with sub-par content, such as this article about freaking weeds.
Since it breached the redbrick walls of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, in West London, at some point during the 1850s, Japanese knotweed has colonized pretty much every corner of the British Isles, but nowhere with more assiduity than the wet valles and clean towns of South Wales. 
The weed entered Britain in a box of forty Chinese and Japanese plants that was opened by the clerks at Kew Gardens on August 9, 1850. 
The weed now present in more than 70 percent of the 3,859 ten-cm recording squares of the British Isles is a single female clone.... Making it the largest female organism on the planet.  
Invasive species often inspoire wonder, at first. After observing fleas in the early 19th century, the people of Aituktaki, one of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, concluded from their restless nature that they must be the souls of dead white men.  
Darwin theorized about the catalogue of effects - on invaders and invaded alike - that must have followed the disembarkation of the first colonists in the New World. He pictured European pets and farm animals, unchecked by enemies and masters, running amok in the vastness. “The common cat, altered into a large and fierce animal, inhabits rocky hills.”
To get rid of the knotweed, what you really need is patience.
It takes five years of repeated applications, in the spring and in the late summer, for the chemicals to go through the plant and kill the rhizomes. There are two ways to go about it: spray the leaves and canes, or inject the poison into the stems. Stem injection is better for targeted work, gives a higher dose to each cane, and sounds more efficacious. In truth, the two methods work equally well... Or poorly. In the UK, the only other technique, which is rarely used, is to dig out a plant completely. This means excavating to a depth of two meters and a radius of seven meters, and carting the resulting 308 cubic meters of earth to a specially designed landfill. The remaining soil must be lined with a copper membrane. 
Of course, Harper’s might lose their liberal credentials if they didn’t make a trite comparison between weeds and mankind. “There is no weedier or more invasive species than mankind.” Yawn.

“I could sum up the future in one word,” JG Ballard said in 1994, “and that word is boring. The future is going to be boring.”

Just like this article!

From the pawnshops of Portland to the con men of Craigslist
By Abe Streep

It turns out a lot of professional musicians - including classical musicians - have their instruments stolen... and they really, REALLY don’t like it when that happens. Bummer, man!
A few victimized musicians have attempted to take matters into their own hands. The guitar tech for Radiohead, who goes by Plank, ran a blog called Strings Reuinited, on which he posted notices about stolen instruments. In Santa Barbara, California, a marketing executive and part-time musician named Chris Stone runs a similar operation, called Screaming Stone, which has led to the return of over half a million dollars worth of equipment since its inception.
Abe ends the article thusly: “Still, in the afternoons, while playing in my back yard, I wonder where the Czech violin is. It could be on the floor of a pawnshop in one of the Vancouvers. More likely it’s in a dumpster or a ditch. But let;’s pretend, as I often do, that some kid has it. Maybe he’s a decent player, not good enough for a conservatory but a little bored with Bach and Brahms. Maybe he wants to figure out something a little more fun. I hope he learns to drop his elbow, lie back, and sit a few tunes out. I hope he chops on the two and hte four, and stays there, in the pocket. I hope he finds a good teacher, and that he follows only some of that teacher’s leads. I hope he spills a littel beer on the fiddle, and that he playus along to records. And i hope he never leaves it in the car.”

By Elmore Leonard

This story, about drunken men quick to anger and fight, a 30 30 rifle, two rednecks getting chloroformed and a gal named Julie, was written in the 50s. It feels very contemporary, with a fine cadence to the dialogue and the prose in general. Worth the ten minutes it takes to read.

By Christine Smallwood

This month’s reviewed books are Counternarratives: Stories and Novellas, by John Keene. Smallwood calls it “an extraordinary work of literature. Keene is a dense, intricate, and magnificent writer. He was an early member of the Dark Room Collective, which in the 80s and 90s incubated a significant group of African-American poets... Counternarratives is his first book of prose in 20 years. An encounter narrative is usually a letter or diary entry written by a colonizer about his so-called discover of native peoples, but Keene’s narratives meld fact and fiction, speculating about events that happened, or didn’t happen but could have... or should have.” The first and best section of Counternarratives contains psychosexually intense stories about colonization, slave rebellion, witchcraft and sorcery and Catholicism.

The combination photo collection, diary and creepy confessional that is French artist Sophie Calle’s Suite Venitienne (1983, re-released in a prestige edition) is probably going to give a few photographers some dangerous ideas of their own. See, Calle, who normally photographed strangers, made a project out of stalking an unsuspecting acquaintance, Henri B., during his vacation in Vienna.

Nell Zink’s new novel, Mislaid, is about a lesbian-packed all-girl college, and was previously featured in the Readings section of Harper’s. I didn’t care for what I saw.

By Terry Castle

In honor of the release of a new release by Incredible String Band member Robin Williamson - Trusting in the Rising Light, Castle writes:
Is there anything more shaming than doting on the electrified English folk-rock of the late sixties and early seventies? It’s taken me, I confess, a dreadfully long time to come to terms with it - to acknowledge that I adore, nay, have always adored, the whole tambourine-tapping, raggle-taggle mob of them: Pentangle, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, John Renbourn, Shirley Collins, Bert Jansch, Martin Catthy, Steeleye Span, Maddy Prior, Richard and Linda Thomson, Lindisfarne. I still venerate Jethro Tull and its leader, the psychedelic flutist Ian Anderson, unforgettable for his dandified overcoat, harelike skittishness and giant comic aureole of red beard and frizy hair. 
I agree. I also like when he writes about his decades-long descent into musical pretentiousness:
Cage and Webern, Harry Partch, rediscovered Baroque opera played on period instruments, obscure blues vamps, Renaissance polyphony, historic recordings from the decaying urns of forgotten French record companies, Ligeti etudes, Pauline Oliveros, Captain Beefheart, and Moroccan gnawa music - these became preferred listening. Manfred Eicher’s muchplauded German boutique label, ECM, notorious for its cerebral emphasis on the more severe strains of avant-garde chamber music and stark, echt-minimalist jazz (mostly northern European) became a go-to source for hardcore experimental stuff.
And certain things are indubitably better when reexperienced. One of the unsung pleasures of encroaching senility, or so I’m finding, is how many things from the past suddenly reveal themselves as even more awesome than you thought they were the first time. The Four Tops, for example. Madame Bovary. Studebaker station wagons. Little baby rabbits. Schopenhauer. You’re not embarrassed by any of it anymore. The plastic seat covers. The pellets. The World as Will and Representation.
Bellow and the problems of literary biography
By Ruth Franklin

The Life of Saul Bellow: To Fame and Fortune, 1915-1964, by Zachary Leader, and There Is Simply Too Much to Think About: Collected Nonfiction by Saul Bellow are both examined in this in-depth essay. Bellow fans might find much to enjoy here, but they won’t learn anything new (Bellow was conflicted about his Jewishness?! Gee! You don’t say!). As for the rest of us, at least we learn that a superior (if less exhaustive) bio is James Atlas’ Bellow: A Biography (2000).

Can shame shape society?
By Laura Kipnis

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by John Ronson and Is Shame Necessary? by Jennifer Jacquet.
Say you tweet something you mean to be funny and edgy to your Twitter followers - all 170 of them - before boarding a plane to South Africa to visit relatives., something about hoping you don’t get AIDS in Africa, which of course you won’t, because you’re white. You can afford to be funny because you’re not racist - your relatives are ANC supporters, after all - you’re merely commenting on racially disproportionate AIDS statistics in Africa. Who would take you literally? Except that you wake up after an eleven hour flight to find almost a hundred thousand tweets calling you every vicious name imaginable. You’re one of the top worldwide trends on Twitter, the most hated racist on the planet. ... Welcome to modern shaming, where an ill-considered joke can ruin your life.
Neither book reviewed in this essay is all that curious about the psychology of shame. Their territory is the ethics of shaming. Ronson is prety much against the whole business, while Jacquet, in a surprise twist, is rather a fan. Her appreciation for shaming stems from political optimism: she believes in human improvability and thinks that shame could be what it takes to get people to shape up, especially those acting against the public good.

It’s an interesting essay, about two interesting books that both have something important to say, with messages worth hearing, even though they seemingly contradict. On the whole, I side with Ronson in that I feel that most online shamers do it for the LULZ, and not out of any sense that they may be making the world a better place. In many ways, however, these books actually compliment each other. Bottom line: If you’ve got (or ever plan on having) something to lose... Watch what you say.


Here's my favorite passage from this month's collection of scientific discoveries:
Psychoogists warned against treating autism with antifuntals, antivirals, bleach enemas, camel's milk, chelation, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, dolphins, extended breast-feeding, Floortime, gluten-and casein-free diets, horses, hyperbaric oxygen, hypnotherapy, magnetic shoe inserts, marijuana, megavitamins, neurofeedback, nicotine patches, orthodox psychoanalysis, Pepcid, probiotics, rebirthing, secretin, sensory-motor integration, sheep stem cells, Son-Rise, testosterone, testosterone reducers, trampolines, vision therapy and weighted vests.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Hello there! 
To anyone visiting this site for the first time, if you're coming from the link in a recent posting at, I would like to personally welcome you to the Daily Dirt Diaspora blog. I hope you can struggle against your powerful monomania long enough to check out a few of my other blog posts to get a better feel of where I'm coming from, who I am, and why I've decided to post on this subject only now. 
I would also like to answer a few of the questions posed to me by author Charlotte Ward in her posting, seeing as it's been a few hours and she has yet to approve the answers that I provided in the comments section of her blog. 
And so, in answer to her question as to whether it would be "epistemologically unsound to assume" that I was "on the payroll", the answer is YES, it would be epistemologically unsound to make that assumption, but totally in keeping with her insistence on believing utterly ridiculous crap with no evidence whatsoever. 
As to her question as to why none of the "alleged abusers with distinguishing marks" has "come forward" to prove their innocence, I have to answer with a question of my own... TO WHOM?! Seeing as she and her ilk believe that literally every police officer, physician, and government official in England is a member of their precious fantasy cult, exactly who is it that you propose should be performing these extremely intimate exams?  
Hold on… is it possible that we have finally cracked this case? Could this whole sick enterprise really be all about a few sad idiots trying to finally lay their eyes on an actual NAKED human being?!

Inquiring minds want to know! 
Yer Old Pal Jerky

Ella Draper and Abraham Christie... CULT-EXPOSING SUPERHEROES!

If you have any level of engagement with the rapidly metastasizing "Truther" segment of the parapolitical infosphere - heretofore to be referred to as "conspiritards" - then you've no doubt come across the disturbing video of two young children making sensational claims about a massive Satanic cult engaged in the most wicked practices imaginable operating behind the scenes of their school in Hampstead, UK. According to these so-called Whistleblower Kids, among the goings-on at Christ Church Primary were pedophile rape and torture on an industrial scale, animal and human sacrifice complete with rituals performed while wearing freshly flayed flesh, and shocking revelations about the local McDonald's, where a cult-member manager had set up a "special room" to host after-hours cannibalistic BBQ parties.

Of course, the cult's Grand Poobah was these kids' biological father, who happens to be a professional actor, which in and of itself appears to be sufficient proof of guilt for some; and the video was shot by their wonky vegan mum and her weirdo boyfriend... but still! It had to be true... it just HADDA! Because... well...

Actually and obviously, anyone with more than a thimble's worth of grey matter sniffed out a con from the get-go. Subsequent events, revelations and investigations have proven that Occam's Razor is still pretty fuckin' sharp, regardless of years of overuse and abuse.

And yet around the world, online and off (but mostly on), countless thousands not only continue to believe the children's claims - which they recanted as soon as they learned that the police would protect them from their mum's abusive new boyfriend - but are even going so far as to stalk and harass numerous teachers, school employees and church officials, whom they claim are secretly living double-lives as murderous Satanic baby-fucking cannibals.

At this point you might be wondering why I'm even bothering with this story, which basically died with a whimper a couple weeks ago after stinking up the stupid side of the Internet for almost a year. After all, the courts called shenanigans on the whole sorry saga and officially cleared the father's name. So it's game over, right?

Wrong. Googling any combination of the words "Hampstead", "cult", "abuse", "Christ Church School", "Whistleblower Kids", "Satanic coverup" shows a roughly 50-to-1 ratio of those who still believe these insane and recanted claims, versus those who accept the court's eminently reasonable conclusions. This troubles me. It troubles me deeply, particularly as someone who has dedicated much of my life to attempting to tease out the sharp and shiny pin of truth from the towering haystack of lies that is our current media (and wider cultural) milieu.

As a student of philosophy, I attempt at all times to be conscious of any epistemological prejudice that may be present whenever serious claims to truth are made. I also try to take into account the ontological foundations upon which those prejudices (if any) may be based. One needn't be conversant in the jargon of phenomenology, however, to understand the source of my concern. Basically, I'm worried that we're reaching a very dangerous point in our civilization. I'm not talking about Peak Oil, or the ramifications of overpopulation, or the threat posed by religious fundamentalists, although that last one is tangentially related.

About a generation ago, some philosophers and social theorists began to seriously grapple with an issue that had been niggling at the Modernist mind since the dawning days of the 20th century: the loss of Truth, with a capital T. In the face of the vast, nihilistic enormity manifest in the scientific and psychiatric discoveries of the day, a great many of the early Modernists beat a hasty retreat, conservatives returning to the Church and/or Tradition, while others made a fetish out of Progress. Both sides worried about a world where nothing was True. Then, with the relatively concurrent collapse of Anglo Positivism and rise of Continental Postmodernism - with deconstruction the new praxis and relativism the new byword - it seemed as though Truth was really on the ropes.

But now, I think we've come to an even more dangerous point: a world where EVERYTHING is True. And I think the behavior of the online masses in relation to the so-called "Hampstead Cult" story is powerfully illustrative of exactly that.

Which brings us (at long last) to today's Suggested Readings.

First, I bring you Barrister Blogger Matthew Scott's passionate defense of both the Hampstead community, where he lives, and the Christ Church Primary School, which his children all attended and survived unscathed. I urge you to read Scott's "Warning to the Credulous" in its entirety, even if only so you can more fully appreciate the lunacy of so many of the reactions in the comments section, among which you will find numerous instances of anonymous conspiritard cowards lighting their torches, hefting their pitchforks, and accusing Scott, himself, of being (surprise!!!) a murderous pedophile cannibal.

If the above essay seems a bit too personal - too invested, too "close to the action" for rhetorical comfort - then I think you'll find blogger and broadcaster Keelan Balderson's essay Six Questions that Hampstead Cult Believers MUST Answer to be far more disinterested, analytical, dry and logical. It starts out:
Despite the overwhelming evidence against Abraham Christie and mother Ella Draper, in the Hampstead abuse case, there are still people that are clinging on to the original “allegations.” To those that still believe there is a Satanic Cult operating in North London, I have 6 very important questions to ask you. 
1) Why Do You Believe With No Evidence?
One of the most common arguments from believers is that the police did not investigate the allegations that were outlined in the original videos. This isn’t an accurate position at all, as they did interview the father, search the church where satanic ritual abuse allegedly occurred, and took the children on a drive to try and corroborate certain locations from the story. They found nothing. They also interviewed the children extensively, and a doctor medically examined them for signs of abuse on two occasions.
Some allegations are highly improbable. It’s alleged that on the last day of the school term a satanic abuse party was held until late at night, involving teachers from multiple schools, hundreds of children, and their parents. Would it not strike the local community as odd that lots of adults and children arrived at the school in the morning, but did not leave until night time? Wouldn’t there have been a huge commotion as they all left the school grounds, particularly if children had taken part in horrific rituals? Anybody could make an infinite list of problems with such a story, not least the fact that not one other person involved or observing from a far, has spoken out or provided tangible evidence that it occurred. When you couple such implausibility with the investigation that DID take place, and the retractions from the children, the police would have to come to a reasonable conclusion that it simply didn’t happen. 
Despite this, the mantra from believers is still that the police did not investigate.
This then begs the question – if you don’t think the police carried out an investigation, or that it wasn’t up to the right standards, or that there’s a full blown cover-up – and because of this they have not produced any evidence of a satanic cult – why do you believe there is a satanic cult?
It continues on like this for five more questions, so read on. Or I suppose you could just watch the video... or rather, listen to it, seeing as it's essentially an audio podcast of almost the entire essay, itself. Here it is...

In summation, I give you a recent, up to date Radio BBC documentary on this subject, which is thorough, uncompromising, and essential listening for anyone interested in this topic, no matter what they believe at the outset.

Shocking, isn't it, how what started out as a simple, innocent hunt for witches could so quickly devolve into a witch-hunt?


If you've read this far into today's offering, I'd like to thank you for allowing me to ramble and rant, and for following me down a dizzying array of digressions that seem, in retrospect, to have been somewhat pointless, but that I had to get out of my system for my own good, if only to exorcise them from my mind.

As always, comments are welcomed and, to be perfectly honest, sincerely hoped for.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


1. Ben Collins, a personal friend of Christopher Hurst, whose bride to be Alison Parker was one of the two people who were brutally gunned down in a horrific attack that was accidentally broadcast live on Virginia morning television, asks the tragically relevant question: "What do you say to a Roanoke Truther?" He begins:

Chris Hurst spent the last two weeks trying not to cry on television while telling the world how beautiful his life with his girlfriend was before she was murdered for no reason. 
Chris was the boyfriend of Alison Parker, who was shot and killed on live television in August by a mentally ill man who had an invented grudge and easy access to firearms.
Chris is a friend from college. Chris and I hosted a radio show together. 
Or, according to millions of conspiracy theorists online, Chris Hurst is a part of my imagination. 
In the minds—and YouTube videos—of some conspiracy theorists, Chris is not a news anchor at WDBJ in Virginia. Chris, the videos say, is a “crisis actor" invented less than a month ago by the United States government as part of a false flag operation that will eventually allow the New World Order to take away every American citizen’s guns and force them into a life of subjugation and tyranny. 
Every day now, Chris wakes up to find strangers’ hate on his Facebook wall that he has to personally delete. Or he’ll Google Alison to find the people he has to thank for donating to her scholarships and he’ll see, instead, another conspiracy theory YouTube video, viewed 800,000 times over, that says Alison was in on it all along, and that she’s been given a new life and maybe plastic surgery by the government.

“It happened again about an hour ago,” Chris says. “It’s hard for me to manage that because I hit land mines when I do. They have all these details I don’t want to know.”
The most recent one says Alison was dating someone else and that she and Chris were never together at all. That person is really Alison’s ex-boyfriend, who conspiracists found by looking through her old Facebook photos. 
Two weeks after he lost the love of his life in the most gruesome and devastating way imaginable, this is what he has to sit through when he turns on his computer each morning.
The rest of this long piece consists of Ben attempting to reason with one of the more egregious of Chris's shameless tormentors. You can guess how that forehead slapping exercise in futility goes. Frustrating as it is, it remains a fine example of the social ramifications of allowing the web to be flooded with knee-jerk conspiritard lunatics who go around calling everybody else "sheeple" when they're the ones being suckered on a daily frigging basis.

2.  With that unpleasant business out of the way, I suppose I should do something to prove that I haven't totally gone over to the Dark Side and sold out to The Man. And so, in the spirit of attempting to improve the quality of our online parapolitical discussions and debates, here's a handy-dandy list of literally dozens of incontrovertible and proven 100% TRUE historic false flag terrorist attacks.

3. Okay, so it's probably time to lighten the tone a bit. And yet, we want to stay on topic, don't we? So whatever are we to do? Oh, I know! Let's watch Conspiracy Theory Rock! the legendary "banned by NBC" Saturday Night Live cartoon written by Robert Smigel!


Those of you who hold the absolutely superb, multiple-artist, Lovecraft-inspired illustration collection PUFFED SHOGGOTHS in as high esteem as I do should be aware that many of the same artists have once again teamed up, this time to produce a haunted-house themed collection called YOU APPROACH A DARK MANOR, and it looks amazing. 

I mean, think about it. An entire book devoted to grabbing you by the hair and visually dragging you from room to room through what promises to be the creepiest and most haunted house in fictional history, all rendered by over 50 incredibly talented artists who do nothing else but sit around thinking up new and improved ways to make your blood run cold, send shivers running down your spine, and basically freaking you the fuck out

This time out, the prolific creator of PUFFED SHOGGOTHS, "Halloween Hangers" maven Trevor Henderson, is joined by Tait Howard and Jenn Woodall. Interested parties will be able to purchase YOU APPROACH A DARK MANOR beginning Monday afternoon. At $10, it's a real steal. Canadian customers can purchase it from Trevor's Etsy, while Americans can order it via Tait's. I intend to get my own copy as soon as it's available, and I urge many of you (you know who you are) to look into getting a copy of your own.