Hated by conspiracy theorists, pagans, and various religious cults ranging from Scientology to SubGenius, E.W. Modemac represents nothing and nobody. His magical path was foreshadowed in his early years, when he published an article in issue #100 of Dragon magazine that explained and codified the laws of magic used in a parallel universe. As with many self-proclaimed modern practitioners of magic, he spent the majority of his life drifting through the miasma of pop culture and mainstream education controlled by the Conspiracy, buffering his psyche against Their persistent attacks and seductions with a wall of cynicism, skepticism and the occasional moment of counter-cultural subterfuge.
His early excursions into magic began when he experienced a vision that spoke three words, a command he would not recognize until years later: "Find hungry samurai!" He found himself among the first generation of Internet publishers, and his first major Internet publication (2001 and Beyond the Infinite) attracted the interest of Rev. Panik EVlynn Bedlam, leading to a meeting in the shadow of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs that soon grew to a companionship that survived even the death of "Bob." At this particular point in his life, he embraced magic and found an unusual calling in the mystical art of culimancy, which he has embraced and practiced willingly for several years now. While still classified as a novice in this field of magic, his creations have influenced hundreds of thousands of persons worldwide and even come to the attention of the masters of the ancient practice of cauldron magic.
As one of the few souls who have entered Panik's hidden domain and survived to tell of this adventure, he gladly accepted his role as co-author of this Volume. His encounters with the Entities and Infernal Princes residing within these pages have opened his eyes to the possibilities of magic as a useful tool for drawing the back the curtain of secrecy that envelops our everyday world. It is his fervent wish that his writings seen here may inspire you to do the same.
See also: www.facebook.com/CastIronChaos
Why We're Stuck With President Trump
The reason why we're all stuck with Trump: Obama didn't do enough. Sad, but there are enough people in the country who feel left out, who feel they've been ignored and forgotten by the Powers That Be. Obama was elected because he promised "change." He accomplished some stuff, but not enough. Many, many people are afraid they're going to lose their current lifestyle – their jobs, their homes, their families, what have you. To many of these people, the current status quo wasn't doing enough. They want the system to be shaken, enough so they feel safer and more secure – in general, not because "the Mexicans" or "ISIS" or "Insert Enemy Name Here" are out to get them. Hillary represented the status quo. She was going to adjust the current system, and that wasn't enough. The popular support for Bernie Sanders was that he was running against the status quo – against "Wall Street," which is easily seen as the status quo. If Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic candidate, he would have kicked Trump out because he was running against the status quo, and he's a better person than Trump. But Hillary managed to grease the Democratic party enough in her favor – as the Wikileaks emails reveal – that Bernie was rejected and she became the Democratic candidate. No one would have believed her if she ran on a platform of "massive change," because her whole career demonstrated otherwise. The stupid email server thing was a way for people to attack her, yes. But if she had been a legitimate outlaw and game-changer, the way Trump was seen to be, the email stuff wouldn't have mattered any more than the crap about Trump's put-downs of everyone around him (especially women, other communities, Mexicans, Muslims, "the blacks" as he says, etc.). Hillary wasn't going to change things, and so people felt any other choice was better…and they went for Trump.
They went for Trump because the country is still a two-party system. The people want things shaken, but not massively broken and started over from scratch as the third parties want. So they went for Trump. The crap about Trump's terrible behavior wasn't enough to stop him, because he was seen as the guy who would shake things up the way people wanted, and want them, to be shaken up. And there was enough of this popular outrage against the status quo to get Trump in. Obama was given another chance to "change" in 2012 (and he was re-elected because Mitt Romney was more of the same, but even worse), but he didn't do enough. So, we ended up with Trump. Now we have to put up with him for four years. He'll probably make a mess, he'll probably cause a lot of damage. But if the Democrats don't recognize this and find a way to really, really shake things up and really change things for the people by 2020, then Trump will stay.
And for the record, I voted for Hillary because I abhorred Trump's character. I still do. I didn't want Bernie because I personally object to a number of his policies. But if he had been the Democratic candidate, I would indeed have voted for him because I do abhor Trump. However, regardless of my own opinion, the general, popular feeling was that Bernie represented enough people that, if he had ran, he would have shaken up the status quo enough to get in.
This situation was an eye opener for me, because I'm a political neophyte. I hope it's an eye opener for many people. Two little comments about the current protests saying "Trump isn't my President:"
I found this video after writing this little piece, I promise: A Trump Victory: How It Happened
As with any hobby, there are niches and cliques where the hardcore geeks get into shouting arguments over the silliest little details. In cast iron, I'm a geek and nerd for Birmingham Stove and Range, a brand that went out of business in 1992. I enjoy the fact that these cast iron pans are great users, and I'm fascinated by the history and the mystery of this company. Posted on the Facebook group for Birmingham Stove & Range cast iron:
"I know of one person running a Facebook group - not this one, but I'll not mention the name because I don't want to cause arguments over this - who suggested it's the fault of research on groups like this one that eBay prices for things like BS&R are going up. It's certainly true that eBay speculators are gathering up this information and using it to jack up the prices of their listings. Now on eBay you can see folks trying to sell "BSR Red Mountain - RARE S SERIES!!!" and the like. However, I actually prefer this state of affairs for one reason: the history and the information is being preserved and not lost. Folks like Saunders and Hugh aren't going to live forever – no offense, folks! smile emoticon – and those of us who know and enjoy BS&R would rather see the legacy of this company live on in the future, even in the heritage of its cookware. Besides, much of those eBay listings are from speculators who use any excuse to inflate their prices. In general, eBay is far overpriced and often (not always, but often) not to be trusted. The best prices can still be found in the vintage treasure hunt; but it's especially because eBay is overpriced that the Facebook selling groups like Iron Man, Patriot Cast Iron and Black Iron are becoming as popular as they are. Besides, there are speculators and shysters out there, no matter what we do. Just yesterday in Sweetwater, Tennessee, I came across a guy running an antique store who knew his iron…sort of. He kept pushing me to look at his Griswolds and Wagner, and showed me a very impressive Etowah with lid that he was selling for $250. Heaviest skillet I've ever held, including older spiders - it was an impressive piece. That same guy was selling a fake Griswold #0 at a price of $39.95. I pointed out to him that it was a fake, and he nodded with a smile and said he knew that. He didn't make any hit that he'd be dropping his price, either. This Facebook group can't be blamed for that, not in any way. I did find a rather rusty Century No. 8-B (7) there and bought it from him for $10, because he obviously didn't know what it was. It's doubtful he'd ever know BS&R because he wasn't a specialist in the history of cast iron; just an antique vendor following the trends and the hot brand names."
Regarding the so-called "right to know" argument for labeling GMO foods: We do not have any "right to know" based on conspiracy theories and scare stories. That's all the GMO "controversy" is: scare stories based on conspiracy theories. We do not have a "right to know" about deadly GMO toxins in our food - because there aren't any.
And that is why we do not have a "right to know" about toxic GMO ingredients in our food. There aren't any.
I recently acquired and restored a gate-marked 19th century 8-quart dutch oven, and this weekend I'm going to give it away to a family in New Hampshire. I can't post this on the group because we've been discouraging giveaways to strangers, and I can't post this on my own Facebook because they're on my friends list and will see it. So, I have to confess here.
These are new friends I visited for the first time last week. They're very nice people, and they live in poverty because they are struggling to recover from some very tough times – they were both homeless and drug users for a while, until they met one another, cleaned up and married, and had two kids. One of the toddlers is autistic; and they have several health issues themselves. When I saw in their kitchen that they only have one small cast iron skillet, I felt I needed to make a donation to help them out. Among other things, they need more cast iron for cooking to increase their iron intake. So, I'll be visiting them on Sunday to give them the big 8-quart pot, a Lodge chicken fryer, and a Lodge 12-inch skillet. I also have a spare chef's knife to replace their dollar-store kitchen knife. None of these had been acquired at great cost; the chef's knife was purchased for $5 at a flea market, and I've been working to get it sharp and in working condition.
Meanwhile, the main reason for giving away the gate marked pot is because I already have a BS&R #10 sized dutch oven, which is about the same size. Having two cast iron pots of the same size would mean one of them would gather dust while the other was used. Given a choice, I'd prefer the BS&R because it's a lot thicker, and I prefer thick iron for use. Also, I'd only paid $15 for the gate marked pot – it was an exceptional bargain. So, I'm really not losing a lot of money by giving this stuff away to friends who need them.
Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.
Some silly thoughts pass through my mind as I'm driving to work in the morning. This morning, I found myself thinking of Santa Claus and the problems he might face in the 21st century – especially since kids could leave their webcams on in an attempt to catch him in the act and prove that he really does exist. What would you do if your kids said to you, "Daddy, can you leave the webcam on so we can see Santa when he comes?"
Now, I should say that I have two adorable nieces (my wife's sister's daughters) who are ages four and two. The oldest one has just reached the age where she knows about Santa and his yearly visits, and she has been mesmerized by all of the Rankin-Bass Christmas TV specials as they've aired on TV this year. She can barely contain her excitement about Christmas and the presents she's going to get. So this morning, I got to thinking: What if we got Mommy and Daddy to turn on the webcam and record Santa's visit for the girls?
Unfortunately, my sister-in-law isn't enough of a Net geek to even have a webcam; and if I offered to let her borrow mine, she'd most likely refuse because she knows very little about it. So alas, we won't have the opportunity to record Santa's visit this year. But even so, I thought about ways to make this happen as I drove to work this morning. So here's my suggestion to you: maybe YOU could surprise your kids by recording Santa on your webcam.
Here's what to do: First, you'll need a Santa suit (or a relative wearing a Santa suit), a webcam, and a recording program. Set up the cam at an angle so that it can capture most of the view of your living room and Christmas tree – but not the entire room, so that there are still areas where people could sneak around without being caught on camera.
Place the kids' gifts in a couple of sacks (pillowcases and laundry bags should suffice). You may want to ensure that the kids sleep through this little show, so be sure to give them turkey sandwiches and maybe a sip of wine (if you agree with the idea of kids having a special sip of wine on Christmas), to ensure they fall fast asleep. Set up and test the webcam, and show the kids that you're going to sneak a picture of Santa for them.
Wait until the appropriate time – it doesn't have to be too late in the evening; maybe an hour or so after the kids are asleep. And when the time comes, you get to put on a show for them. You can record Santa sneaking into the house (through the front door, that is – after all, he has a special golden skeleton key that can open any lock), bringing his sack to the Christmas tree, and unloading it. (He may have to take two or three trips, if you're the type of family who lavishes your kids with tons of presents at Christmas!) Of course, since Santa loves his work, he will be jolly and happy as he unloads his pack. Then, just as he is ready to leave, Santa can suddenly notice the webcam and come take a close look at it…and laugh with delight, realizing that he is on camera. Finally, in a move that will really blow your kids' minds, Santa would then take a couple of candy canes out of his coat, show them to the camera, and sneak off-camera towards the kids' rooms. After a minute or so, he comes back in sight of the camera, waves happily, and exits out the front door.
When the kids wake up the next morning, they would find candy canes under their pillows. And when you play back the webcam and they see Santa in their own living room, they should be excited and joyful in a way that you yourself will remember for the rest of your life.
And be sure to upload the video to YouTube!
(A repost of an old Usenet message from eight years ago…)
Trying to link it all together. RSS feed for my Google+ page: gplusrss.com/rss/feed/2b99e53a8c661808ab1f28107c49ad5e5421fda08f24e
After all this time, I finally have a working Twitter feed for my Web site. Welcome to the Internet.
The "Food Babe" has a bachelor's degree in computer science, and before she became a radio personality she was a banking consultant. She is not an expert in genetics, in chemistry, in biology, in botany, or in anything whatsoever to do with food, nutrition, or food safety. Her mantra is "don't eat anything you can't pronounce," which is an admission of ignorance and outright stupidity. (I'd better stop taking acetylsalicylic acid, a.k.a. aspirin.) What she has learned is how to get attention for herself by scaring people with conspiracy theories, scare stories, nonsense, and outright lies – that's why she's become a prominent figure in the "alternative medicine" field and frequently appears with dangerous quacks like Mike Adams (Natural News), Joseph Mercola, and of course Alex Jones. And, sadly, people believe her and follow her every word…then declare the rest of the world to be "sheeple" who need to "wake up." I refuse to step into a Whole Foods Market or shop the "organic" section of my local supermarket because of this misguided hysteria that "natural is good and processed is bad." Thanks for nothing, Food Babe.
The tale of my trip to the Brimfield Antique Show on May 17, 2014:
On Saturday morning, I cleaned out the electrolysis tank and refilled it with fresh solution (tap water and washing soda). I kept the Erie kettle there for a full 36 hours, and took it out last night. The results were much more satisfactory.
The Erie kettle was in the lye tank for a full three weeks, and that appears to have taken most of the paint off. I took it out of the lye on Wednesday, scrubbed it with steel wool and Barkeepers Friend, and I've had it in electrolysis over the past two nights. However, I don't think my electrolysis setup is doing a good job: I can barely get 2 amps of current in my tank with the 12-volt 10-amp charger, and there have been hardly any bubbles or foam despite all of my efforts to improve it. Yesterday morning I scrubbed off a lot of black paint residue (and got it all over myself); this morning there was hardly any paint coming off, though there were still rust stains. Until I can figure out what I'm doing wrong with the electrolysis, I'm going to fill the inside with a 50-50 vinegar-water solution tonight and let it soak until tomorrow evening. That should clean up the inside, at least.
Fortunately, I haven't discovered any cracks; so the indication is this pot can be cleaned up to the point where it can safely cook again.
The markings on the bottom of the pot are more legible; there's some pitting, but not too much. The writing on the bottom can be seen as: "ERIE" PATD. MAR 19, 1891. 827 8.B.
The initial discovery of this huge 1890s-era Erie (Griswold) stovetop kettle: April 14, 2014
If I hadn't seen this one, I wouldn't have believed it. Last week I'd mentioned the once-famous, and now gone, Spag's market in Worcester, Massachusetts has recently re-opened as an antique marketplace. I dropped by there again today to look around. I was on the lookout for old kitchen knives, and didn't find anything satisfactory (one that looked nice, but too small for my needs)…and then, I came across this. This is a huge cast iron pot, measuring about 11 inches deep and 13 inches across at the widest point. I've seen these a number of times at antique shops in many locations, but without exception these pots have been rusty and cracked, often with holes punched in the bottom to make them into planters; essentially worthless. Except that this one…wasn't. AND, it was at a price far, far lower than one would expect for an iron pot of this sort. Antique vendors usually slap a ridiculously high price on a pot of this size because of the ongoing belief that "old is good, big is good, therefore old and big is better." I picked it up and examined it closely for cracks, and could not find any. The pot had been painted on the outside and inside, and brush marks indicated this was not a manufacturer's paint job. What's more, there was a mark on the bottom, partially obscured by rust or pitting. All I could tell was this: ER-- (maybe Erie), 82A, 8B, and something in the center that appeared to be -ARDMAN—-. I've been burned before, when I acquired a huge gate marked enameled pot last year that turned out to have lead in its structure. So, the first thing I did with this one was get a lead paint test from Lowes hardware. I tested both swabs on the pot, inside and outside. Both came out negative! So that means I can treat this one in the lye bath, and see if it can be restored.
According to the Cast Iron Cooking group, this piece is likely a Griswold (Erie) Flat Bottom Bulge Kettle, which can be dated to somewhere from the 1890s to before 1910.
If you want a cure for insomnia, it would be hard to top this: a half hour video of me, talking and talking about antique cast iron pans.
So, I accidentally stumbled across the reason why I was banned from Reddit. After six years on Reddit, someone posted my name to a board especially for "reporting spammers." There was even a comment on this board that expressed surprise I'd been on Reddit for six years. Based on the number of votes, two people said yes and one said no. And just like that, I was banned from Reddit. I emailed them several times asking for an explanation, and never received a reply. Then, over a year later, I came across this entry by accident, as no one had informed me of it. www.reddit.com/r/reportthespammers/comments/12ir74/modemac/