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Friday, February 14, 2003
Sadly, today's entry is *NOT* satire, a put-on, or joke...

[ WHO'S WATCHING WHOM? ]

= Is 'The World According to Pete' being monitored by the U.S. government? =

"Every dedicated artist is attempting to create something that has a life apart from the creator, and which could even put him in danger. So artists engage in the ultimate blasphemy, the literal creation of Life. Impossible? In the magickal universe, anything is possible."
- William S. Burroughs, a truly patriotic American & currently deceased author.

Having 'Sitemeter' on one's web log is a wonderful thing, in that you can see who's reading your "blog". While you can't find out who is logging in by individual email account, their Internet Service Provider (ISP) is noted. So, for instance, I know that besides the usual assortment of general ISPs, a large number of my readership comes from universities.

Also, in recent weeks, a number of media-types have checked in - including staffers from the offices of such publications as 'Philadelphia Inquirer', 'FHM', and 'Playboy'.

More ominous, perhaps, are the visits in the last few days by representatives of the federal U.S. "guvmint."

Witness the following 'Sitemeter' login entries (all times MST)...

On FEB. 11, 2003

ISP / TIME / IP-ADDRESS
=== ==== ==========

fed.us / 8:43am / IP Address: 166.5.55#

then...

fed.us / 9:19am / IP Address: 166.5.55#

Originating Time Zone (of both): "The time zone of this visitor was not recorded."

[Editor's Note: the "fed.us" domain is used by FERC, Fire & Aviation Management, NEH, U.S. Courts, USDA and various other federal agencies -- as registered via GSA/NIC.GOV ]

On FEB. 13, 2003

faa.gov / 1:45pm / IP Address: 204.108.8

Originating TZ: Central Time Zone

In all three cases, the Entry Page accessed on my web log was not the main page. It was the 12/01-12/31/02 archive page, the top story on which is the infamous "X-Mas Terrorist Attack" article.

For those not familiar with that story, in short it was a series of faux news articles detailing an "alleged" terrorist attack, by an aircraft, aimed at the Golden Gate Bridge on late Christmas Eve.

The morning after the aircraft, "tentatively identified as a single-engine Cessna", is shot down by "two F-14 fighter jets", San Francisco residents discover "brightly papered packages floating in the bay" and "the burnt and blackened carcasses of several small deer or antelope on shore." In other words, in its anti-terrorist zeal, the U.S. military blows Santa Claus out of the sky.

The wheels of big government turn slowly, however, so it is only now that the story is being investigated. Perhaps it is merely part of the U.S. government's "monitoring of possible terrorist activity" nationwide, and it is casting a rather wide net.

While I haven't read *all* the provisions of the US Patriot Act, I don't believe that the writing of satire falls under its definition of "terrorism." But then, I haven't read the document in its entirety. I really should do that, considering.

Whatever happens happens, but I don't relish the possibility of federal agents knocking on my door, wanting to come in. It's not so much because I'm against them trampling all over my free speech rights in the process - that would pretty much be a given - but just because my place is a mess. The dirty dishes in the sink. The clothes on the floor. The nuclear bomb hidden under the bed. You get the idea.

As I said previously, I believe this may be a case of "general monitoring of possible terrorist activity" run amok. However, if I *should* vanish, you just might assume I've gone to 'summer camp' a little early this year. From what I understand, such camps are wildly popular with Afghanistani tourists right now.

So, am I a terrorist? No, not in the traditional sense. But I might be considered, by some, a "Poetic Terrorist."

By way of explanation of that term, I quote 'Salon Apocalypse: Secret Theater' by Hakim Bey:

"As long as no Stalin breathes down our necks, why not make some art in the service of... an insurrection?

...We might now contemplate aesthetic actions which possess some of the resonance of terrorism aimed at the destruction of abstractions rather than people, at liberation rather than power, pleasure rather than profit, joy rather than fear. 'Poetic Terrorism'.

...a totally non-violent way of fighting - a war without murder, 'the sword of life' rather than death.

A conspiracy of artists, anonymous as any mad bombers, but aimed toward an act of gratuitous generosity rather than violence. Or rather, aimed at a present moment of aesthetic shock in the service of realization and liberation.

Art tells gorgeous lies that come true."

If, by wild coincidence, my particular "gorgeous lie" should come true, and some aircraft does make a beeline toward the Golden Gate Bridge (an actual plane, not a flying sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer), I could very well be in deep shit.

Personally, I feel very strongly that all REAL terrorists should be brought down. After all, I love America too.

However, my fear is that, with the government's often unquestioned and occasional heavy-handed tactics as of late, our free and open society will be brought down as well. I'm concerned because, after all, I love America too.

Some reading this may think I'm making "much ado about nothing." I might even agree with that assessment. Maybe I'm being a wee bit paranoid here. But, as some old paranoid guy once said - just before 'They' killed him - "that doesn't mean they aren't out to get me." Ha, ha.

Think of this brief report as a "pre-emptive strike." Just so there's no confusion about my use of the phrase "pre-emptive strike", agents Mulder and Scully, I'm speaking figuratively.

I realize the evidence presented is circumstantial at best. But I share it with you, dear reader, because one can't be too careful these days. I know that to be true, because my government says it is true.

More on this story *if* it develops.

Heck, maybe it's all just a "big misunderstanding." Or, as Dorothy would put it, "Lions and tigers and bears. Oh, my!"


ATTENTION CHALLENGED READERS' VERSION(s):

(Present tense) Gotcha!

(Future tense) Or maybe that'll be "They 'Got Me!'"

posted by Pete 3:35 AM
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