Path of the Black Flag Excerpt: “The Abbe of Theleme”

The ‘abbey’ to Theleme was a sort of commune founded hundreds of years ago by the eccentric fire giantess, Pantagruela. Unlike her more warlike kin, Pantagruela had no wish to conquer and enslave others. Instead, she merely wanted to live in peace, do her own thing, and enjoy the company of other beings doing their own things as well. She founded the abbey as a sort of ‘anti-monastery’, a place where the only rule was, ‘Do as you will.’ Being an enormously rich and powerful giantess, not many people questioned this rule.

After more than a century of relative peace at the abbey, Pantagruela died. Since her personality was the binding force of the community there, it soon disbanded after her passing, and the giant-sized abbey stood empty. It was soon inhabited once again, however, by the even more eccentric Tengu wizard and mystic, Horus the Great. He  founded a school of magic, determined to do away with the stuffiness and hierarchy found in traditional magica schools, and in life. In this, he was inspired by the Abbey of Theleme’s original charter, and was a great admirer of the philosophy of Pantagruela. This school lasted only a few years before scandal and a lack of funds drove it apart, and Horus moved on to other pursuits. Its impact was sufficient enough, however, for the Horusite philosophy of wizardry to grow and outlast the second incarnation of the Abbey, and indeed Horus himself.

Another, more commercially minded wizard named Mirabilis claimed the Abbey of Theleme after the departure of Horus. He hoped to capitalize on the the reputations of Pantagruela and Horus, and built a sort of tourist attraction into the structure of the abbey. This project was abandoned shortly thereafter, as Mirabilis found the construction work continuously disrupted by strange disturbances. Despite his best efforts (and those of several adventuring parties) he was unable to stop the disturbances, so cut his losses and went on to construct a tourist attraction based upon the exploits of a whimsical family of ratfolk.

Nowadays the abbey serves as an artist’s commune and event space. Artists of various disciplines, including those who use arcane magic as their medium, reside and work in the various nooks and crannies of the giant-sized abbey, while bards and skalds use the the large common rooms for concerts and exhibitions. The local authorities frown on what they consider to be blatant lawlessness and the corruption of the youth, but due to the number of magical wards and guardians installed by the previous master and mistress of the abbey, they can’t really do anything about it. These wards and guardians do not seem to bother the artists, or their audiences.

Lemurian Hour #1- Peter Tupper

Welcome to the first episode of the Lemurian Hour, with our first guest Peter Tupper! I’m excited about doing a podcast again. It’s been too long. My plan is to release these weekly. Some will contain long-form interviews, like this one. Others will will contain shorter interviews, along with regular feature, such as current events with Ben Robinson, and Cinematic Pig’s Feet with Katalin Justice. There will be more regular features coming later, so stay tuned for that.

Our guest this week is noted BDSM expert and author, Peter Tupper. He has written extensively, both fiction and non-fiction. We talked about his latest project, a history of consensual BDSM, and the public’s current fascination with the subject, including the controversial ‘50 Shades‘ phenomenon, and we discuss some of the notable BDSM relationships in history, such as that between Hannah Cullwick and Authur Munby. Peter is by no means the on researcher on this subject. We also touch on the work of Mr. Raven Kaldera (I apologize for misgendering Mr. Kaldera in the podcast. Definitely a he.)  We also discuss how people into BDSM can survive in these times.

I’ll be the first to admit that this interview is a little bit rust, at least on my end. Peter Tupper was fine, but it has been a while since I have been behind a microphone, and it shows, both in performance and in technical quality. However, I think this is a pretty good episode, and the rest will be even better. If you’d like to help out, please consider leaving me a good review on iTunes, and supporting me on Patreon.

It’s Filthy Lucre Day!

The Filthy Lucre Tour: Live in Japan
The Filthy Lucre Tour: Live in Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Note: Every day is Filthy Lucre Day.) 

In an effort to monetize every aspect of life, I have started a Patreon campaign, and an e-store. The store is currently selling art prints of my collages, and the patreon will go towards supporting the creation of:

So, why not sign up for my patreon? Or maybe buy a print? You know you want to.

Random Reddit

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.
Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love Reddit. You can find me on it here. Reddit is essentially a giant message board, or actually a collection of message boards based on different topics. Anyone can sign up for it, and subscribe to the message boards, or subreddits, that interests them. Plus, anyone can start their own subreddit, on any topic they like.

Lots of people have lots of different ideas about what Reddit is. What side it’s on. But the thing about Reddit is, it’s too large to encapsulate in any one label, like ‘Left’, ‘Right’, ‘Racist’, ‘Sexist‘, ‘Socialist’, or ‘Gigantic Timesink’ (okay, that last one is a good encapsulation.)

One of the great things about Reddit, and a great way to see just how many different things there are on Reddit, is the ‘Random‘ feature. Click on that, and it will take you to a random, safe for work subreddit (for the Not Safe For Work subreddits, go here. Go ahead. I’ll wait.)

To illustrate this, below are ten random subreddits, that I went to using the ‘Random’ feature. No cherry-picking, no do-overs. Let’s see what we have.

/r/MadisonLouch

Madison Louch is a model, ‘social media star’, and DJ, who evidently has quite a devoted following on Twitter, Instagram, and of course Reddit. She is beautiful, from Johannesburg, blonde, and seems allergic to wear clothes.

/r/sadcringe/

Want to make yourself feel better through the suffering of others? Want to lose faith in the general competency of Humanity? Then come on down to /r/sadcringe, where you can see the finest in people being sad, in a way that is just embarrassing to experience.

/r/Cartalk

Car repair questions, asked and answered. As someone who just spent $2600 to get my car repaired, I can appreciate this subreddit. As far as I can tell, no direct relation to the famous radio show.

/r/deadpool

Are you into Deadpool? Are you really into Deadpool? Like, are you contemplating making a shrine, that sort of thing? Here you go.

/r/PS2Cobalt

Planetside 2 is an online first person shooter, where people play different members of a combat team of three science fiction factions as they battle for planetary supremacy. As is typical with these sorts of games, there are different servers for different geographical regions, to reduce lag and people screaming at each other in languages the other person doesn’t understand. Cobalt is the European server for this game. The content of the subreddit is mostly pictures of the game’s environment, and records of gameplay. Since my idea of a computer game nowadays is a rousing game of freeciv, I will leave this to the most vigorous game players out there.

/r/The100

I haven’t seen this show. I have friends who have seen this show. They became great fans of this show. Then a characters named Lexa was killed off, in a way that seemed cheap, cynical, and insulting to the LGBTQ community. My friends got pissed. I don’t intend on watching this show. Your mileage may vary.

/r/democrats

Great if you’re a democrat, I suppose. At least, if you’re a democrat who is pretty happy with the DNC. I am not a democrat, so not my cup of tea. Seems to be slightly less toxicly vitriolic than some other political subreddits.

/r/Volvo/

Fahrvergnügen! Do you like volvos? Do you like volvos the same way some people like Deadpool? Here you go.

/r/puns/

I’m not a fan of puns. This subreddit is for fans of puns. Fortunately, it’s filled with a healthy amount of self-loathing. I felt dirty reading it. Yes, I subscribed to it. I still feel dirty.

/r/harrypotter/

I’m just barely a fan of Harry Potter. I am not, however, enough of a fan of Harry Potter to get as much used out of this subreddit as other people will. Maybe you are. I’ll stick with my epic ‘Space: 1999‘ fanfiction.


Did you find a new favorite subreddit? Did I leave out a subreddit you love, that you want to share with the world? Let me know in the comments.

Coarse Grind Week: Interview with Shawn Rosler

Welcome to Coarse Grind Week, where we talk about my friend’s podcast, the Coarse Grind Podcast. Here’s an interview I did with him.

So, who are you, and what’s your day job?

I’m Shawn Rosler, and I’m your high school sweetheart. KIDDING…but we were as good a friends as geeks can find in high school, neh? By day, I’m a Lead Analyst/Project Manager of Computer Based Training centered around an Electronic Health Record for a major health system in Pennsylvania. And, yes, it’s as boring as it sounds.
By night, however…*cue dramatic intro music*…I’m the host/creator behind the ever increasingly more popular (which is about as vague a slew of adverbs and adjectives as you can get) Coarse Grind Podcast.

What is the Coarse Grind Podcast?

HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THIS SINCE YOU’RE MY SWEET, SULTRY, SVELT PRODUCER?!?!

Sorry…was that out loud? It was typed, so I guess that’s kind of a yes. Seriously though, the Coarse Grind Podcast is my project of going on 3 years now that is a talk show featuring food as art, and the culinary presence behind it (chef, artisan, etc.) as artist. It’s a look into foundations, souls, and skillsets that push some of the most beautiful dishes you can possibly imagine, as well as being almost a cathartic outlet for culinary artisans who (I’m sure) wonder if they’re ‘gotten’ the way they wish they were as much as they hope they are. Make sense?

What got you so into cooking?

I don’t know if it was so much a thing that got me into it, as it was more a lack of thing(s) that got me into it. See, knowing where we grew up, I don’t have to explain it to you, but for folks reading this I’m thinking I might. I (We, really) grew up in a town called Honesdale, PA…cool that it’s the birthplace of the American Railroad (true story)…NOT so much that high cuisine came from the bar/restaurant across from our high school (used to be Jack Trainor’s…changed since then several times over). I really feel it was the deficit we were in, coupled with an unreasonable adoration of cooking shows on public television (Jeff Smith/Frugal Gourmet, Martin Yan/Yan Can Cook, Julia, Jaques, etc.) that made me realize that there was a SHIT TON more out there than I had ever been able to realize based off of my immediate surroundings. And once the first discovery was made (Sushi on a field trip in…9th grade, I want to say?), the rest was history.

What have learned about cooking, and chefs, since starting this podcast?

Better off asking me which of my 3 kids is my favorite…easier answer (depending on the day, it’s REALLY easy…I digress). I think one of the coolest things/concepts I’ve gotten to with those kind enough to do the show is the fact that for as varied a background as they all have (and JESUS H do they), there’s this common thread through them all – Famous, local, etc. – that speaks the same volume: Food is love. Food transcends being a biological necessity in their eyes, and they take it a step further by dedicating their lives to creating it for us…the humble diners. It’s thankless, but they do it because of a feeling…a passion. And, I was never able to put that into words until I started doing this show – That food was more emotion/experience than just substance. And, while I don’t do THAT for a living, dedicating a good number of years (so far) to this show has certainly made me feel a similar vibe.

What have you learned about podcast, and interviewing people, since starting the podcast?

Awesome question, as my wife and I were just discussing over dinner this very growth spot for me. When I first started, interviewing Chef Dakota Weiss from Top Chef Season 7, and the first several…I thought it was important to make sure *I* was heard equally with my guest…that as the host, I had to be “ON” constantly. Personally, I’ve always been a shitty listener (again, just ask my wife), and I’ll never forget her listening to the first couple episodes and giving me feedback to that end. As wise married men do, I took my wife’s words to heart and, in time, learned to let the guest lead. I mean, hell, I’ll get the intro out there, bring them on…but once I ask the first question? LET EM GO…let the guest be the guest and talk about the guest. Gentle nudges to try and stay on track, but, then again, off roading kicks ass. Anyway, I learned it’s not about me, and it’s not about control.

What has been your favorite part of doing the podcast so far?

My ABSOLUTE favorite bit of it all is simple – It’s talking to people I’ve met (and in some cases, become friends with) about something we love. Now don’t get me wrong – It’d be REALLY easy for me to say that fanboying as I talk to people I love on TV is the *favorite* part…it’s DAMN close. My cheeks were BEAMING red for the first ten minutes when I interviewed Casey Thompson, and I nearly vomited 5 minutes before talking to Chris Kimball. Being able to see these people in my call history, talk to them from time to time (Hi, Chef Breedlove) and even have them Like pretty much EVERYTHING about your sweet kids (Looking at you, Josie)…that’s unreal for a fan like me. BUT…none of that fame or fanboying means a damn thing if we can’t talk about what we love. And, truly, THAT’S what matters most to me…the lifelong friends I’ve made because of this show…because of food and drink.

Who is your dream guest? Anyone, anytime, living or dead, factional or fictional?

I should have mentioned I’ve got about a bottle of Prosecco in me right now, so this answer could go CRAZY off the rails. Dream guest…damn…again, ask me favorite kid…easier. Gun to my head, and potentially cliché as it would be, I have to say Bourdain. He was the one who made it okay for me to like food AND be a dick about it. Like, not necessarily MEAN, but to make sure that what I was getting was as good as it could be and truly was executed properly. He made it cool to be a traveler, vs a tourist (story about Belize and our honeymoon for another interview, there) and to be inquisitive as well as immersive. And, perhaps extending myself a bit, I feel like after the first five minutes, it would sound as natural as old friends…fan as I am, I feel like I “get him” and, in turn, he’d likely get what I was trying to do with the show. Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay are 1st and 2nd alternates for nearly the same reasons.

Now, if I can have an alternate universe answer (Bizarro World) there (and this one goes WAY out), it would have to be Action Bronson from VICE Land/F*ck That’s Delicious/Ancient Aliens, etc. This one is DEFINITELY not on straight culinary merit, but rather the sheer entertainment value it would be. Again, in a weird way, I feel like he’d get what I was going with the show, and believe me…having been a chef (there ya go, if you didn’t know), he’d know his shit. But MY GOD…what a ride THAT would be.

Anything big happening with the Coarse Grind Podcast in the near future?

The big, live 50th Episode will be at the Alvina Krause Theater in lovely downtown Bloomsburg, PA on Monday January 30th, starting at 730pm. All proceeds will benefit the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard, and the evening promises to be entertaining – Games, in-show imbibement, inappropriateness…what’s not to love?!?! Beyond that, we’re starting in on the next 50 with the 51st episode featuring a very controversial guest…

Where can people find out more about you and the Coarse Grind Podcast?

More about me? Google search, but you’ll more than likely get 99% e-learning stuff, and that’s likely not what you’re going for. If you want to know more about me and the show, check us out on our YouTube Channel, Facebook page, or search for us on iTunes! Reach out, message me, I reply to everyone (although, sometimes it takes a little longer than I’d like)…means a lot to me when people look at food differently because of an episode of my show!

 

The Serene Republic of Lemuria Detailed

Building on my previous posts about art- nations and micronationalism as art, I am proud to introduce the Serene Republic of Lemuria. You can find all my posts on micronationalism here.

Top 10 Places to Start Your Own Country

English: Afro-Eurasia, "The Old World&quo...
English: Afro-Eurasia, “The Old World”, (orthographic projection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, you’ve decided to start your own country. The question becomes, where is your new micronation going to exist? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Outer Space– Turns out there’s a lot of space in outer space. You could claim some or all of one of our system planets, an asteroid, one of the many extra-solar planets, or the inky void itself. There are some international treaties that might interfere with this, but those won’t really be put to the test until someone gets up there and tries it. So, buy some Tesla stock and go for broke.
  2. Islands– There are a bunch of islands out there with no permament human population. These have often been targets of opportunity for aspiring nation builders. So much so, that the established nations keep a pretty close eye on them nowadays. Still, the remoteness of isalnds give their inhabitants a certain amount of de facto sovereignty, and just because other bids for island independence haven’t failed, doesn’t mean that your won’t succeed.
  3. The Oceans– This is not choosing a some desert isle out there. This is living on the ocean waves themselves. The (still largely theoretical) practice of living permanently on the oceans is called seasteading. While living on what would essentially be a super-sized houseboat would not satisfy some of the criteria of the Montevideo Convention, it does give you some of the greatest chances for de facto sovereignty. After all, if the locals are hassling you, you can just move.
  4. Sunken Continents– A sunken continent or land is territory that has either been submerged under the sea, or while close to the surface never really crested the waves. While the theorized continent of Lemuria was thought to be this, it turns out that Lemuria didn’t actually exist, which makes it more a mythical land (see below.) These have a lot of potential for aspiring nation founders- at least those with access to marine earth-moving equipment.
  5. Former Nations– For those micronationalists with a historical bent, you might consider taking up the banner of a former country. There are a lot of them, many with a rich history. Why should it all go to waste simply because some people have a difference of opinion over whether the Byzantine Empire is still ‘viable’?
  6. Mythical Lands– For that matter, why confine yourself to the historic? Many facsinating lands and people exist in the realms of myth, legend, and fiction. People often get into micronationalism for utopian reasons, so why not just go ahead and create your own Utopia?
  7. Disputed Territories– While established nations are usually quite good about maintaining and policing their borders, this can break down when those border are disputed with another established nation. Sometimes both countries claim a spot of land, but neither side occupies it for strategic reasons. Sometime, when new treaties are drawn up, some sliver of land gets left out. Many insanely ambitious micronationalists take advantage of this opportunity and proclaim the independence of the territory in dispute. Their success, and survival rate, is….mixed.
  8. Current Nations– In 1859, a fellow by the name of Norton proclaimed himself to be Emperor of the United States. He didn’t invent a new country. He didn’t go off and find some uninhabited spot of land. He simply saw and existing nation, and thought to himself, “I can to do better.” You can do that to. You might not get anyone else to recognize your claim, but that can’t and shouldn’t stop you from making it. How others handle it is their problem.
  9. Inner Space– But why do you even need land to begin with? At least at the start? A nation, after all, is more than simple territory. It is culture, national ideals, anthems and flags. It is a set of commemorative stamps. So why not start with that? Some of the most notable micronations out there started with a declared territory of someone’s bedroom.
  10. Internet– In a sense, all current countries, whether established or micro-, at least partially inhabit this space. An internet presence is considered by many an essential part of a micronation’s identity. It is the main way they interact with the world, and with other micronations. This is so true that you might say that the true iconoclast, the true rebel, alternative micronation, would have no internet presence whatsoever. Maybe this micronation, or many of them, already exist. But since they’re not on the internet, I don’t know about them.