Friday Afternoon Movie: Jesus Camp

It’s been a long, long day. When you haven’t been in meetings you’ve been at your desk alt-tabbing between solitaire and Excel, rearranging your budget so that you’ll be able to afford those sweet zebra-print seat covers you saw on Jalopnik the other day. Well, just stop it. You’ll never be able to afford them and Jalopnik was being ironic anyway. Also, anyone can win at solitaire if they pull one card at a time. Yeesh, have some self-respect. Close Excel and prepare for Friday filmage.

Today: Jesus Camp, a documentary about the now defunct “Kids On Fire School of Ministry”, a Pentecostal summer camp in North Dakota. It follows three children who attended the camp in 2005 where they are taught how to become part of God’s army. A lighthearted tale of willful ignorance and homeschooling, this is the film to show your atheist friends if you wish to see them become apoplectic and jittery with spittle-flecked rage. Or to pass the time while avoiding the siren call of compulsive spending.

Seriously, zebra-print isn’t going to make that ’89 Camry any cooler.

Vigilant Citizen: Occult Website for the True Believers

Shots from the most evil airport on earth, as reported by Vigilant Citizen

At first, I hesitated blogging about The Vigilant Citizen, a site that exposes the Masonic/Illuminati symbolism present in everyday things ranging from pop stars to national monuments. The site had to be a joke, I told myself, poking fun at occult nuts the same way that Christwire pokes fun at religious zealots. I’m not so sure, though. It feels like too much research to be fake, and yet it feels too silly to be real (case in point: Lady Gaga, The Illuminati Puppet). Whether or not the site is faux, it’s attracted some true believers! As one commenter writes in response to the the Gaga post:

This is truly amazing im shocked. I believe god told me to check this site. I feel like a total fool I wad becoming a fan of hers. Im totally conviced that this is what she’s trying to convey.

So dive right in, and have an occultastic good time! My favorite article is a toss-up between Top 5 Worst 9/11 Memorials and Vigilant’s analysis of the Denver National Airport (part of his Sinister Sites series, which examines the architectural occultism of buildings from all over the world). In a style that reminds me somewhat of Weird New Jersey, the latter article gives us a spooky tour of the most evil airport in America, introducing us to the apocalyptic horse with glowing red eyes that guards the entrance, the airport’s nightmarish murals, the arcane symbols embedded in the floor, the gargoyle statues, and of course the Nazi swastika-shaped runway. All part of the impending New World Order! Enjoy.

[via Aaron Muszalski]

Lighting a Candle for Geocities

I dedicate this dripping blood bar to the memory GeoCities, which was shut down by Yahoo last week:

GeoCities – or GeoShitties, as we all oh-so-cleverly called it – began in 1994 as a community of themed “virtual cities.” There’s a list of all the GeoCities neighborhood names that ever existed on this page, which also offers an illuminating explanation of how the whole process worked:

When GeoCities first started offering free web pages to the public, they decided to create themed neighborhoods. Each neighborhood was then divided into blocks (each block was numbered between 1000 up to 9999). A user would then adopt a block and thus create their own pages within that block. Thus, a user would then have their own web pages located at a URL in this format: (“XXXX” would be a four digit number). The whole management of each Neighborhood was run by volunteers – known as ‘Community Leaders’ (CL’s), which is what made the GeoCities experience so special.

This whole process was known as “homesteading”, and each user had their own  “homestead”. Community Leaders helped out each “homesteader”, and created a friendly atmosphere which contributed to the rapid explosion of personal web pages on the internet.

And though it’s probably been years since any of us have even looked at a GeoCities page (and that’s probably a good thing), to some of us, those pages, with “BourbonStreet” and “SoHo” in their URLs, represented a special time: the period in which audiovisual sharing first really took off on the web. Geocities, along with Angelfire and Tripod, were among the first wave of free personal self-expression sites for the masses. It was the first time that people who weren’t born-and-bred web geeks began to establish an earnest online presence, clumsily piecing together basic HTML (“hello! border = 0!” was the big insult to fling at someone whose page lacked a certain finesse). Sure, it contaminated the web with a lot of bad poetry, but it also brought us a plethora of wonder: band fan sites, zine reviews, scanned photos of interesting strangers from across the world.

GeoCities will completely cease to exist by the end of the year, and all its sites will be wiped from the face of the web forever. Feast your eyes on few of the relics that will be soon be gone [edit: But there’s hope! æon writes in the comments, “jason scott of bbs documentary fame and a team of volunteers are archiving the whole thing.” Click here to learn of their valiant efforts.]:

So… anyone here remember a beloved Geocities site that they’d like to share? Anyone here guilty of actually having ever made their own Geocities page? Let us take a moment to commiserate and recall our first memories of the web, our favorite haunts, the ways we discovered one another. Efnet. Dalnet. Undernet. Midgaard. Webrings. Guestbooks. X of the Y sites. ASCII-embellished sigs. BBSes. Alt.barney.dinosaur.die.die.die.

What was your first circle of friends on the web? Do you still keep in touch with them? Where did you get your first taste of this great series of tubes?

Dictionnaire Infernal (Demonographia)

Belzebuth (aka Belzebub, Beelzebuth), whose name means “lord of the flies” is prince of demons according to the Scriptures. Milton calls him foremost in power and crime after Satan, and most demonographers call him supreme chief of hell. Belzebuth is also known to rid harvests of flies. His favorite color is chartreuse.

Even if you’re not remotely interested in the occult, chances are you’ve been exposed to at least a few of the critters compiled in that hugely influential Dover collection, Treasury of Fantastic and Mythological Creatures; it’s been kicking around for decades. Several of the most fascinating and grotesque beasts contained therein are from a series of 19th century illustrations produced for Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy‘s Dictionnaire Infernal, aka, Demonographia. Louis Breton drew the set of 69 illustrations of various demons as described by Collin de Plancy, which were then engraved by one M. Jarrault.

Did you know that in addition to vomiting flames and commanding forty legions (most of these dudes seem to command an awful lot of legions… or, alternately, inflict lesions), the Egyptian deity Amon has the power to reconcile differences between friends? Or that Ukobach the Inferior, a lesser minion who maintains the oil in the infernal boilers of hell, also probably invented deep-frying? Is that wild? That is wild! Did you know that? I did not know that. Weird, wild stuff.

For a while, proper reprints of the grimoire were very difficult to obtain. In fact, they’re still pretty pricey, but you can download the entire book in PDF form (in fairly good quality).

Furfur: a count of hell who rules 26 legions. He appears as an angel or a stag with a flaming tail and speaks only lies unless enclosed in a triangle. He speaks in a raucous voice. Furfur sustains marriage, can cause thunderstorms, and speaks on abstract things. He has also been known, on occasion, to “get Yiffy wid’ it.”

Several more frisky demons and (paraphrased) descriptions from Demonographia after the jump.

An Ovation for Zoe Keating, a Raspberry for NPR

Update, 02/24/09: Some good folks over at NPR (thank you, Andy Carvin and Bob Boilen!) are looking into the oversight written about here. They’ve since added proper credits to the piece. Also, Zoë is currently listed as the #2 seller on iTunes classical. All’s well that ends well.

Koko Theater, October 2008, London. ⓒ Polstar Photography.

I think my Coilhouse cohorts will agree that one of the very bestest things about being involved with this venture is being able to give props to lovable people who do lovely things. I’ve been meaning to sing the praises of cellist Zoë Keating for ages now. She’s a visionary artist with immense talent and soul… and a sweetheart to boot.

When we first met several years ago, she was playing second fiddle (so to speak) in Melora Creager’s honorable neo-Victorian outfit, Rasputina. At the time, I was astonished by Zoë’s incredible ear and deep, rich tone. As it turns out, I was only hearing select facets of what she’s capable of.

Zoë Keating opening for Amanda Palmer last year. Shot by AleXIXandra.

More recently, Zoë has been self-producing and releasing solo recordings of a project she calls One Cello x 16, in which she deftly uses live electronic sampling, looping and repetition to create lush, beautiful layers of sound. Zoë is classically trained but a swashbuckler at heart; her music builds a hypnotic, swaying bridge between the old guard and the new. Ambient, pop, and orchestral sensibilities trade off, with each distinctive element bolstered by her powerful musicianship and sensitivity.

Regretfully, the reason I’m finally getting around to writing about Zoë is a bit of frustration I’m feeling on her behalf. NPR’s show All Things Considered used a song of hers yesterday without permission or credit. Zoë’s been featured on NPR before –a great opportunity for her– but in my opinion, that’s no excuse for their programmers to assume she’d be fine with them arbitrarily yoinking her work and using it anonymously. NPR is supposed to support off-the-beaten-path artists, not exploit ’em, right?

Danzig Slated for New Season of Schlock of Love??

EDITOR’S NOTE, Tuesday, Feb 17th, 8:00 PM: Woops. Turns out this may all actually be a big load of hooey. A hoax. A flummox. A gaff. A fabrication. Serves me right for not examining my sources more carefully. Bad pseudojournalist! Bad! Mea culpa. Will investigate further in the A.M. WHAAAOOOO WHAAOOOOO…

Darque pussy.

Hey, folks! Ever shit yourself and projectile vomit simultaneously? No? Well, get thee to the nearest Port-O-Let before reading any further. Today might be your lucky day!

VH1 announced today that producers are now filming a new season of Rock of Love featuring metal/punk/horror-core legend, Glenn Danzig.

The new show, which will premiere this July, is called Rock of Love: Bride of Satan with Glenn Danzig. Danzig is well-known in metal and punk circles as one of the founding members of 1980s horror-core punk rockers Samhain. He went on to the form hard-rock band Danzig, which scored several top 40 hits in the late ’80s including “Mother” and “She Rides.” Both a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Danzig is also well-known for his interest in the occult and all things evil. [Anyone else notice the mysterious omission of the Misfits from this press material?]

Oh My Friggin’ Kung-Fu Grip ‘Bama

Okay. Um…

Coilhouse takes pride in not being yet another lazy link-dumping blog, but y’know, this is one of those times where the less said, the better. Just… just click the image below. It links to a very special place. Once you’re there, scroll all the way down to the bottom.

(Via the craziest Canuck I know, Chip Zdarsky.)

Gawd bless America. And Japan.

[EDIT 01/23/09: Hooo WEE! That one went viral so fast, it knocked the Gamu Toys website on its ass. Luckily, some smart fella over at captured the site as a PDF before it disappeared. Here ya go.]

‘Couple more doozies after the jump.

The Magic of Christmas – Delivered

Every holiday has its series of rituals and Christmas is no exception. Whether you’re with family, friends or drinking alone, these two informative videos from Rare Exports will reveal a new facet of Father Christmas that’s sure to make you reconsider everything you know about him.

You’ve probably been told to think about the hard work that went into putting that dinner on the table, but have you ever considered Santa’s origins? After watching the videos below you’ll never take another “Ho!” for granted. You’ll walk away with a deep sense of appreciation for the secret workings behind that jolly visage. A grim, NSFW Christmas tale for the ages awaits beyond the jump!

Ernst Haeckel’s Secret Origins Revealed


New research has uncovered the origins of Earnst Haeckel, the turn-of-the-century German biologist/artist revered to this day by both scientists and designers alike for his awe-inspiring biological engravings (if you’re unfamiliar with Haeckel, click here immediately). His surprising origin: greeting card designer! Historian John Holbo elaborates:

Ernst Haeckel’s 1904 “Kunstformen der Natur” [Artforms of Nature] is a classic of biological illustration. What is less generally known is that the artist started as a Christmas card designer. The book was originally simply an album of holiday designs.

“All the sweet things that the Squiddies/Twittering in the dewy spray/Wish each other in the springtime/I wish you this happy day.”

During the Victorian era Christmas was indeed regarded as a ‘happy’ day, but one of uncanny terror; accordingly, cards and ornamentation featured strange creatures with too many tentacles. But then Santa Claus became popular, and many of these older designs ‘fell out of fashion’.

Commercially marooned, unable to draw anything except tentacles and congeries of pustules/bubbles, Haeckel wandered into natural ‘science’ – almost as an afterthought – when he discovered that the stuff he had been drawing actually existed, give or take a tentacle. Isn’t that interesting?

It also turns out that Ada Byron Lovelace was his mom. History is awesome! You can see the Haeckel greeting cards Holbo’s Flickr stream, and purchase reproductions here.

Hilarious Posts from Ayn Rand Dating Site

Anton LaVey, Scott Cunningham, Ayn Rand – oh, the follies of youth! I’d nearly forgotten my 14-year-old Objectivist phase until I stumbled on the hilarious “Free-Market Meat Market,” an article over at New York Magazine that features posts from an Ayn Rand Dating site, with precious gems such as this:

thustotyrants, Selden, New York
[I am] short, stark, and mansome.

You should contact me if you are a skinny woman. If your words are a meaningful progression of concepts rather than a series of vocalizations induced by your spinal cord for the purpose of complementing my tone of voice. If you’ve seen the meatbot, the walking automaton, the pod-people, the dense, glazy-eyed substrate through which living organisms such as myself must escape to reach air and sunlight. If you’ve realized that if speech is to be regarded as a cognitive function, technically they aren’t speaking, and you don’t have to listen.

Ladies… any takers?