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.

Top 10 Micronations

Many micronations may found at the website for the Organization of Active Micronations

I’m going to be honest with you. I have no idea how to write a ‘Top 10 Micornations’ article. How do you even measure that? The ones with the most territory claimed? The one with the least. The most famous, the most notorious? The ones currently active today, or throughout history?

Also, this is certainly not a unique concept to me. There are many other top lists of micronations. Like these:

So, here’s another list of ten micronations. Are they the top ones? Sure. Why not?

Ten Micronations (That are probably tops)

  • Westartica

    Westartica, formerly the Grand Duchy of Estartica, formerly the Protectorate of Westartica, formerly the Achaean Territory of Antartica, claims land in Antartica, specifically Marie Byrd Land (defined as defined as all land south of 60° S and between 90° W and 150° W), and a few nearby islands. They basis this claim on a supposed loophole in international law that left this bit unclaimed by the major countries. While no major country has acknowledged this claim, it is a popular loophole, and has been used by a number of other micronational projects, including the infamous Dominon of Melchizedek. Westartica, and its ruler Grand Duke Travis McHenry, currently bill themselves as ‘advocacy through occupation’, stating their goal with the micronation is to draw attention to the environmental issues of Antartica. Their website may be found here.

  • Conch Republic

    A self-described ‘tongue in cheek’ secession movement, The Conch Republic was a response to frustation with local government. The territory declared its independence in 1982, and claimed the city of Key West, Florida. The territory currently claimed is variable. There is a yearly Independence Day celebration, and has become a party of the local tourism industry. The national mindset can best be described as ‘laid back.’

  • Kingdom of Ladonia

Ladonia was borne of Man’s two great motivators: the need to create art, and the need to sue people. The country was founded by the artist Lars Vilks, who built a monumental wooden sculpture ‘Nimis’ (‘Too Much’ in Latin) in the Kullaberg nature reserve in north-west Skåne, Sweden, in 1980. Because it was built in such a remote and innaccessible location, the Swedish authorities didn’t actually find out about the sculpture until about two years later. After they did find out about it, they declared the sculpture to be a building (to be fair, it was big and made of wood), and took Mr Vilks to court.

Over a decade of legal battles ensued, during the course of which Lars Vilks declared the independence of the Kingdom of Ladonia. The Swedish government was unable to really enforce their claims over their own territry, giving his claim some de facto, if not de jure, legitimacy.

Ladonia is a popular micronation, with over 17,000 citizens (none of whom live in the territory claimed). It has a some rather whimsical national characteristics (the national language only has two words), as befits a nation founded by an artist, and that I personally find quite appealing.

The Kingdom of Ladonia is still going strong today, despite some trouble with arsonists (as can be expected with a country based upon the erection of large wooden sculptures.)

If the Kingdom of Ladonia can be considered an ‘artistic’ micronation, then the Kingdom of Redonda may be considered a ‘literary’ micronation. It’s founder was the author MP Sheil, and many of its peers were early to mid 20th Century writers and poets. The details of its formation may have been a literary invention of Mr Sheil themselves. And, like any good story, there are multiple versions of it, with many current conflicting claims to kingship over the small, uninhabited, Caribbean isle.

From the artistic, to the literary, to the flat-out fraudulent. The Dominion of Melchizedek was started in 1990 by Mark Pedley, and has lent its name to banking fraud, passport fraud, and a whole host of other malfeasance. They are listed in the anti-scam website Quatloos! They are, quite frankly, a disgrace to micronations, and the less said about them the better.

I have some sympathy with these guys. Back in the early 70’s, they wanted to form a libertarian nation, a ‘libertopia’. I get that. I understand that. But they went at with a fatal combination of arrogance, naivete, and an unwillingness to fight for what they claimed. Their desires wrote checks their stomachs (and stomachs for fighting) could not cash. The whole sordid history may be found here.

Ah, Sealand. It may not be the oldest micronation, but it is one of the longest continuing micronations, and certainly one of the most well know. Started by Rory Bates on an abandoned WWII era offshore platform in 1965. It has survived fire, fame, the internet, and German businessmen. It’s political and commercial practices are still the model for a number of more recent micronations.

While other micronations may make more of a splash in the news, and others may have a more dramatic history, the Republic of Molossia is a great example of what most micronations can achieve. It’s a small operation, nothing grandiose, and while it is definitely done with a great deal of flair, there’s nothing extravagantly expensive about it. It’s a fun well-done hobby, that more micronations could learn lessons from.

The Free Republic of Liberland does not lack ambition. founded by ‘ Czech right-libertarian politician and activist Vít Jedlička‘, Liberland claims territory currently disputed by both Serbia and Croatia. They are explicitly billing themselves as a libertarian nation, and while their politics may drift a bit too much in vulgar libertarianism for my taste, I do admire the general thrust of their ideals, and their moxie. Still, They are messing with the borders of two countries not known for having a tolerant sense of humor, in a region of the world with very little chill. So good luck and don’t get shot?

The Principality of Hutt River is an Australian micronation, claiming a small part of Western Australia. Founded in 1970 over a dispute involving wheat quotas, Hutt River has evolved into a family affair, issuing a number of attractive coins, stamps, and other State paraphernalia.  Another nice success story for the micronation community.


Did I miss your favorite micronation? Let me know in the comments.

My Obituary

The Best of Obituary
The Best of Obituary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Note- this post is inspired by this post of Karmic Ally.

John L Robinson (1976-2097)

Place of Birth: Montgomery, Alabama

John L Robinson, died yesterday due to complications with his cybernetic implants. He was 120.

John was born in the 20th Century, in Montgomery, Alabama. Oldest son of Marileta and Patrick Robinson, He is survived by his two brothers, Ben and Ted, and his adoring family.

John attended college at the University of Alabama, where he was a member of the Mallet Assembly. After college, he moved to Asheville, North Carolina. It was there that he discovered his love of podcast and video work, producing a number of audio and video pieces. After that, he worked in a variety of professions, most notably that of a home health aide, before becoming a full time artist and media personality.

John will be remembered as a kind man, and a staunch advocate for individual freedom and civil liberties. While many of the artistic creations he was known for are still quite controversial, they are evidence of a fierce and creative spirit, the influence of which will endure for a long time to come.

In lieu of flowers, mourners are requested to donate to Amnesty International.