Sunday, January 31, 2010

Craft Attack! hits Charlotte Feb 6th

Got Valentine's Day?

Craft Attack!, the local Etsy handcrafters' expo, is having their winter show at The Atrium in NODA from noon till 5 pm. Portable Weirdness will be there, along with two dozen other vendors.

The Atrium is an awesome skylit indoor garden behind Amelie's French Bakery at 2424 N Davidson St, Charlotte NC. If you've never been to Amelie's, you're horribly deprived and need to be nicer to yourself. Google and Yahoo Maps show a correct location.

Admission and parking are free (Free parking downtown! Imagine!), and you can indulge in fabulous hot coffee, cocoa, or tea and gourmet baked goodies while you peruse everything from hand-spun yarn and textile creations to jewelry and accessories to pottery and home decor, all made by local craftspeople.

I can hear some of the guys now, going, "Eh, Chick Thing; wouldn't be caught dead". Dude, if you're

1) looking for an excellent V-Day surprise for someone
2) up for some superior carbohydrate consumables
3) game to see what people with a thing for blowtorches and leather do in their garages at 3 am

. . . you're there. Don't be a wuss - it's Equal Opportunity Cool!

And if Valentine's Day makes you break out in hives, or you figure it's going to blow roadkill this year because of some dweeb who doesn't recognize your greatness (or because you didn't recognize someone else's), come make it up to yourself. You can treat yourself to some caloric and material gratification and support your local handmade and small business community in one swell foop!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Orangutan and the Hound

Snitched this brilliant bit from Melissa at Gothic Charms, who snitched it from 5th World, who snitched it from National Geo. Buncha kleptos, aren't we? ;0)

These guys are at T.I.G.E.R.S. at Myrtle Beach, SC. Fair warning; it has a commercial. Yeah, I know, they're annoying, but watch it anyway. When you do, you're helping pay the bill for everything that makes this possible. Fifteen seconds of your life is cheaper than buying the DVD, neh? Of course, you could do that too, and administer an epic win/win.



More footage:



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Con Man Terry Johnston

*** Updates below; even more updates on the new post - check out both



. . . if that's his real name - he also goes by "Ramon" and "Lewis Lamont", and has used "Raven" (gee, that's original) with the Pagans he's contacted. He's about 5'10", thin, and has no really identifiable accent. Appearance can vary some; when he was here he had a beard and much longer hair. He carries a small backpack, a duffle bag, a laptop computer showing a Johnston coat of arms.

Other possible identifying info:

  • Gives home address as 8733 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90046
(this address comes up as business site called Victor Hugo Hair on Godaddy.com)
  • Working cell phone (at least as of 12-16-09) is 323-772-6381
  • Email given is terry.wj@hotmail.com
  • Claims birthday is October 13, 1959
  • Claims to have roommate named Sheila.
  • Smokes cigarettes
  • Claims he's dying of AIDS, partner (“Len, from Scotland") died of AIDS two years ago
  • Claims to have worked for the Los Angeles County Fire Department as an EMT, and to have had his insurance dropped when he was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS. He says that a class-action lawsuit has successfully reinstated insurance for him and others as of Jan 1, 2010
  • In about 2004, using the same name and story, called Christian agencies in Columbia, SC, portraying himself as a devoted Christian. He stayed in the Red Roof Inn in St. Andrews at that time. He stayed at the Motel 6 in St. Andrews from Dec 14-17, 2009
  • Other business address given is 5230 Pacific Concourse, #320, Los Angeles, CA 90045, Office: (800) 901-2640

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We encountered Terry Johnston a few months ago when he contacted Miles asking for help from Carolina Grove. His story was that he was from LA, got stranded here on the east coast, and was trying to get home. He said he was in an advanced AIDS stage, had only a few months to live, and had tried to go home to Baltimore to make amends with his estranged family before he died. Claim was that they had told him to go away, and now he was stuck.

We referred him to NCP COW. Aside from the fact that the Grove isn't incorporated as any legally recognized entity, and that we don't exactly have a "community help fund"**, I found his statements that he had left LA in such a dither to not miss his train that he left his wallet, his cell phone, his money, and everything else behind, and that none of the Charlotte AIDS groups could help him, fishy. If he wasn't legit, and turned out to be some fruitcake, Miles and I wouldn't have as good a legal leg to stand on.

Based on the story that a friend of his in Cali was going to wire him a train ticket the next day, NCP COW was willing to get him a room for the night, and I agreed to drive him to a hotel within walking distance of the Amtrak station.

So then a few weeks later, this email goes out from a friend of ours about this poor gay pagan man who is dying of AIDS is stranded in Columbia, South Carolina, and trying to get home to LA.

(hit play)




I tagged Holli Emore of Cherry Hill Seminary, the person who was heading up a fundraiser to help him, and yep, same guy. She told him she needed to have some kind of ID conformation before she could turn the large wad of cash she'd raised over to him; he bolted. We're not sure where he is now. Charges have been filed against him.

She started doing some digging; turns out this guy has been milking Pagan and Christian help agencies and individuals for almost a decade, and bilked people out of several thousand dollars. He's been spotted in NC, SC, Ohio, Texas, Connecticut, Maryland, and Florida. He's also scammed people as a fake business enterprise in California, to the tune of some $300,000. I'm skeptical about anyone who's had "only a few months to live" for roughly ten years now. Terry claims to have been hospitalized regularly, but he gets angry and confrontational if asked for any verification.

This dirtbag needs to be caught. Other than the outright theft, he's the kind of criminal that makes it harder for people who have real trouble to get any help. He gives the GLBT, Pagan, Christian aid, and HIV/AIDS-survivor communities a bad name. He's been getting his contact information mainly off Witchvox, and from newspapers and local interest publications and public service handouts like Creative Loafing and Q Notes.

Please pass this along. If he contacts you, please contact the local authorities, and send them to me. You can also contact Holli at Sekhmet at osireion dot com. There's a contact table in the right hand bar of this blog that goes directly to my inbox. I can put them in touch with the other people he's gotten money out of for verification of his identity. If you want more evidence to look at, please ask me for it. I'm not going to try to put all the correspondence I have on here; it amounts to several pages worth. I can also forward you to the aforementioned people who've blown the whistle on him, and you can speak with them.

The sad thing is that I've heard from people who've known he was scamming them, but went ahead and helped him out of fear of being labeled homophobic, unchristian, or a "witch war" starter. Horse piddle. A person who steals a group's identity to take advantage of that group does not deserve it's protection or loyalty.

The good side of this is, we've seen firsthand that the Pagan community is willing, even in this economy and with so many out of work, to step up and help someone in a bad spot. These people get applause and salutes for their honest generosity, even if it was misplaced. I've heard people comment that the PHA belief systems are inferior to the Abrahamic faiths because we are selfish and insular, and don't have any mechanisms or even inclination for helping our fellow man. I call BS on that, and I don't want to see the attitude that proves that wrong ruined by a lameass con artist.



****UPDATE: Terry Johnston has been sighted in Indianapolis, IN as of July 20th, 2010, using the usual line, and another time using a different story about staying in a hotel while his house is renovated, and playing a straight guy. Picture submitted by contact:



That's our jackass all right. Thank you, Indianapolis!


** The Grove doesn't collect any money; we pay for everything ourselves. Any donations given for the use of the Unity Center's building are collected on site during the event, and go directly to their office manager.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In today's installment of "Things That Don't Suck" . . .

Since the last few entries have contained varying amounts of bummage, and the next one isn't exactly going to be a whiff of nitrous oxide either, we present the following intermission of entirely unrelated Things That Don't Suck:


<a href="http://music.skinnywhitechick.com/track/in-the-name-of-the-dance">In The Name Of The Dance by SJ Tucker</a>













Friday, January 15, 2010

Gaia/Yahweh Tag Team Match, or "Pity the Gods"






Glahblarpfle.
Almost every day this week has caused me to add to my list of people who force me to ask "Are you high?!" Seriously considering foregoing the flying monkeys and just suiting up myself.

I more or less expect mindbogglingly crackhead propaganda from dorks like Robertson and Limbaugh; they've been an embarrassment to even many heavily conservative Christians for years. Having lived in North Carolina's portion of Hurricane Alley from 1992 to 2005, I'm not surprised any more by the smugly selfish who carp about how "people who made the choice to live in places where natural disasters can occur don't deserve any help".

I am, however, Thwapped into WTF?! mode by (alleged) people who claim retribution from Gaia as the cause of Haiti's seismic disaster. As if the environment didn't have enough problems, we gotta have raving fruitbats sending the people who do see the point of responsible resource management and mindful behavior running, lest they be counted nuts by association?

This whole need to equate natural events with a blame game, regardless of belief system, is the most ridiculous part of it all. The world drops the ball at Copenhagen, so (insert deity of choice here) decides that the right action is to unload both barrels on not the wealthy, resource-wasting, pollution-causing nations, but on one of the most disadvantaged. Right. Sure. It's a rotten shame the Gods have to put up with this kind of insulting crap.

The only cause and effect that remotely makes any modicum of sense even on that bare edge of psuedo-logic would be to suppose Erzulie Dantor (whom I don't know personally, but respect some peeps who do) felt that someone hadn't lived up to their end of a 200 year old bargain, and opted to jerk a knot in their asses. Frankly, given that

1) no one
that was present then is currently alive to be held accountable

2) the level of devotion Mama Dantor has in Haiti and with world-wide practitioners of Haitian voudou is high, and the credit given her for Haiti's freedom is a most beloved part of the lore

3) even as a djab with a nuclear temper she is nowhere close to being that totally unreasonable or harshly demanding on such a scale

. . . I think that's pretty bloody unlikely.

Doctors Without Borders is accepting donations as small as one dollar. I tried it; it went through just fine. Plenty of us are out of work and broke, but we're not lying in the collapsed remains of our homes with injuries and no food or water in two days, wondering who of our friends and family are still alive. If a thousand people give a dollar each . . .


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Please Sir, may I have some more Conan?

Aha! Optimism pays off - there are some people with a measure of class left in television.





Today's Cookie List also adds Jimmy Kimmel for Chinning Above & Beyond The Call Of Duty, and Chevy Chase for defiance of gravity:





Now, if The Daily Show could just bring Conan on board . . . .

(wanders off imagining the Utopia)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Helping Haiti & DinDin Fer Dinos




Okay, can we clone some dinosaurs now, and send them to eat
Pat Robertson?

C'mon, it's time. Past time, really, but I've been busy lately.

The only other reasonable, civilized alternative is for me to go out there and toss him off a cliff into shark infested waters after gluing a picture of Amy Winehouse in full makeup to the insides of his glasses and setting fire to his jockeys.

Or,

LIGHTBULB MOMENT!!!!

. . . . we could sell him to the highest bidder, and give the proceeds to Haiti . . . somebody go fetch him; I'll get started on it immediately.

In the meantime, The Wild Hunt is already getting the Haiti Help Ball rolling. Check there for ideas and leads.