WORTH REPEATING: How I Became A Weirdo

  EDITOR’S NOTE: The following essay by Phawker almnus Elizabeth Fiend [pictured below] about her early days as a weirdo punk rocker/comic strip artist is included in THE BOOK OF WEIRDO just published by Last Gasp. Legendary in alt-comic book circles, Weirdo was a comics anthology created by R. Crumb in 1981 and ran until 1993. THE BOOK OF WEIRDO includes a comprehensive history of the publication, interviews with its three editors — R.Crumb, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, and Peter Bagge (of Hate fame) — and testimonials from artists that contributed over the years, including Miss Fiend, hence this essay. Robert Aline […]

JUNK SCI: The Birds, The Bees And Thoreau

BY ELIZABETH FIEND JUNK SCIENCE EDITOR I’ve been reading Wild Fruits, an unfinished, recently published manuscript by American naturalist Henry David Thoreau. The book is a combination of diary and essay, chronicling the ways Thoreau spent his days and what he learned during the final years of his brief life. With each page I get more jealous, wishing I too could spend my day stalking a bee to find its hive and to learn what type of flower the bee drinks nectar from and how that affects the flavor of the honey. Of all the things I love to do […]

20 YEARS AGO: The More Fiends Vs. The Berlin Wall

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Philly punk band More Fiends was founded by Allen and Elizabeth Fiend (host of BiG TeA PaRtY Sustainable Living) . BY ELIZABETH FIEND It was November 9th 1989 and More Fiends had been on tour already for a grueling seven weeks. I was lying on an old mattress on the floor of a narrow bedroom watching Happy Days which had turned incredibly funny because in the German dubbed version The Fonz had a whiney, high pitched voice. Plus, come on, Fonzie was speaking German. The program was interrupted by what seemed like some sort of special news […]

TONITE: Hail Mary, Full Of Grace

[Photo by ELIZABETH FIEND] BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY I was working on a theory yesterday at the start of the Eagles game. It went like this: for (probably) the first time in baseball history, the outcome of an NFL game would affect the World Series. After the Phillies Game 3 loss Halloween night, I figured that if the Eagles lost on Sunday afternoon, the fans at the Phillies game Sunday night would have a sense of impending doom, a fear of a totally lost weekend. And this is the kind of atmosphere that could carry over to the players, […]

JUNK SCI: Airborne Toxic Event

FAREWELL TO HARMS: U.S. Military personnel toss everything from unexploded ordinance to amputated limbs onto the burnpit at Balad Air Base in northern Iraq, creating a near-constant toxic plume that can be seen and smelt for miles. BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Balad, the largest military base in Iraq is home to about 25,000 U.S. military personnel as well as several thousand civilian contractors. In December 2006, Air Force Lt. Col. Darrin Curtis, a bioenvironmental flight commander for the base, reported that there is an acute health hazard with possible chronic implications associated with the disposal of waste, via a […]

TURNING JAPANESE: In The Land Of The Rising Sun

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR To celebrate my 50th birthday I’m taking a trip to Japan. I’m also taking my brand new Nikon D40 digital SLR camera and telephoto lens. Expect great photos when I return as well as the occasional blog post directly from Japan. Check back here at least once a week and leave comments or messages for me in Comments at the end of the post. We fly out of Philly on December 12 and return just in time for New Years and the Mummer’s parade. How do working class people such as The Fiends afford an […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Frankenfood For Dummies

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Genetic engineering is a biological science that involves modifying plants, animals or any living cell on a genetic level using gene splicing and gene modification. Complex technology allows scientists to isolate DNA from a plant or animal, and also from tinier organisms like bacteria. The DNA is then cut and spliced and either removed from the original source or implanted into another organism. This allows alterations and direct manipulation of hereditary traits of either the original organism, or whichever new host organism into which the DNA has been implanted. OLD SCHOOL Hybridization, the old way […]

JUNK SCI: Nutraceuticals, It’s What’s For Dinner

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Orange juice laced with anchovies, fish genes in ice cream, cheese that kills intestinal parasites, laboratory extracted elements of green tea in your ginger ale, bacteria from yogurt hidden in salsa. Welcome to the supermarket of the 21st century. Not the 21st century to come, I mean today, this is your food store now. Fortified foods aka functional foods are the newest adventure in eating. The fancy name for fortified foods is nutraceuticals. Say that out loud, it’s kind of nauseating. A combo of nutrition and pharmaceutical, this name is trying to convince us that […]

JUNK SCI: If Cows Could Break Home Run Records

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR In a stunning consumer victory the biotech behemoth Monsanto announced on August 8th that they want to dump their business of producing rBGH and hope to find a buyer for the product. rBGH is a lab produced, genetically modified artificial growth hormone that is being administered to about 15-17 percent of America’s milk producing dairy cows. r = recombinant which means it’s artificially produced in a lab; BGH, Bovine-Growth-Hormone is the common description for the hormone bovine somatotropin (BST) sold to dairy farmers under the commercial name of Posilac. The label on a bottle of […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Confucius Say

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR “You peng zi yuan fang lai, bu yi yue hu?” “Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters?” To the thunderous beat of 2,008 Xia Dynasty drums, 2,008 voices chanted this classic greeting from Confucius in welcoming the 100,000 spectators to the opening of the Summer Olympics in Beijing. The games are now well underway, and it’s impossible to ignore thinking about China, especially after that dazzling opening ceremony. Are the Chinese scary task masters, or did that display show the wonders of a large group of people working together in harmony? […]

JUNK SCI: Big Box Organic

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR There’s a crisis in the organics world, and it’s called big business. Too much of a good thing has gone haywire. Organic food is so much in demand these days that there simply isn’t enough to go around. As a result, manufactures of organic products have had to outsource. What was once an industry of small family farms has mushroomed into a new kind of agribusiness, with direct financial ties to the likes of Wal-Mart, Kraft, Kellogg and General Mills. Yikes. Big business is finding loopholes in the legal definition of organic […]

JUNK SCI: The Groove Is In The Heart

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR You go to the doctor. First thing, a nurse takes your blood pressure, then makes a face and leaves the room. Most of the time they never tell you the numbers. Infuriating! You should always ask what your numbers are. It’s a pet peeve of mine that you even have to do this — the nurse or doctor should automatically tell you, but mostly they don’t. I’ve found that a lot of people don’t really understand what their blood pressure readings mean or how having high blood pressure might impact your health. So, here’s a […]