My own personal Brunswick Shrine closed in 2012, the very same year the world was supposed to end—and it might as well have for all I care!—because Cedar Lanes is where I’d spent much of my wayward youth bowling and playing Pong and pinball and enjoying the most wondrous cheeseburgers that your belly-brain can imagine! It was like a central meeting place where myself and my hirsute colleagues would congregate on a Friday night before venturing out to a kegger or some other stoner dude outing straight out of Linklater’s Dazed and Confused.
When I caught wind of Cedar Lanes impending closure, I arranged a get together with some Discordian colleagues to enjoy a toast or two and partake of the holy hamburger (sorry, not hot dogs without buns) and bid farewell to this landmark of my youth where last I heard they were going to build an aneristic Wal-Mart in its place.
After high school, I drifted off to other parts of the Golden State then returned to Fresno in the late-80s and made a habit for awhile of visiting Cedar Lanes for an occasional hang over-breakfast (eggs over easy, hash browns and bacon, keep the coffee coming!). This was during the period Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was writing a weekly column for the San Francisco Examiner, and so I fondly recall on several occasions slurping my coffee with great gusto as I read the good Dr. Gonzo’s latest while awaiting my bacon and eggs in the old school padded leather booths of yore.
During our final Cedar Lanes pilgrimage we never actually got around to bowling but spent the preponderance of our time in the dim lit bar among a gaggle of regulars enjoying their Bud Lights, one of whom I later noticed in the photo below appeared to be a shapeshifting reptilian, just starting to shapeshift. Notice the eyes…
Of course, Fresno has always been home to strange occurrences such as these, including my own psychedelic UFO encounter way back when. After reviewing the remaining photos from our pilgrimage, I noticed what appeared to be a saucer-shaped UFO hovering to the right of the Cedar Lanes sign!
Back in the day, Cedar Lanes used to issue their own credit cards, something I’d hung on to over the years, as it occupies a special place in my wallet right alongside my Discordian Pope Card. Of course, they hadn’t accepted these credit cards for over a decade or so, but just the same I thought I’d lay it on the bartender to see if I could stiff him for a few drinks. This gambit didn’t work, but just the same the bartender didn’t hold it against us, and actually treated us to a toast on the house, which was some sort of lemon lime concoction that was damn good, I might add.
The last vestige of Cedar Lanes now resides in a neon sign bone yard in northwest Fresno, a testament to a bygone age.
Find out more about fabulous Fresno here, the city of the future!
For this Eris of the Month Club selection we present to you now Part 00001 of Cpt. Bucky Saia’s Erismorphing Project.
As Cpt. Bucky expresses it:
“…this is Bapheris (I call her Betty :D). I think this is a beautiful incarnation of Eris for every Discordian Chaosmagician. Ok the Chao is a little bit rough. The picture bassed on a theory from me that every Period have his own Eris (5 different Eris´s). Call this ‘Levels of development incarnation Theorem’ or in german ‘Entwicklungsstufen Inkarnations Theorem’. with best wishes from the land west of the East (calles Germany) Cpt. Bucky Saia Moonman Winter Dream.”
Prior to my research for Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation (Amazon), I was unfamiliar with Fred Newcomb, but as I recently discovered he was a long-time Warren Report critic and active player in the early days of the JFK assassination research scene. In fact, Newcomb was one of the early investigators to analyze the backyard photos of “Oswald” (holding his trusty Mannlicher Carcano rifle) and produced the first report detailing how those photos had apparently been doctored. (Later, Jim Garrison would even go so far as to suggest that it was Kerry Thornley who staged these photos!) Due to his association with the Garrison Investigation, Newcomb was among the handful of JFK assassination researchers who obtained a copy of the film Farewell America (Amazon).
Although it was never commercially released in the U.S., Farewell America had been passed on to Garrison investigator Jim Rose (aka E. Carl McNabb), who then supplied boot-legged copies to the likes of Fred Newcomb, as mentioned in this letter.
Farewell America included Zapruder film footage that’d been purportedly liberated from Time-Life who owned the rights to the film at the time, as well as possession of the physical copy. Over the years, rumors have circulated that French Intelligence was somehow involved in the heist of the film then later returned it to the Time-Life vaults after making duplicates. French Intelligence, in turn, shared this footage with the producers of Farewell America who incorporated it into their film. On account of this bootlegged version of Farewell America, the Zapruder film had now began (circa 1968) to circulate within the JFK assassination research community.
French Intelligence notwithstanding, a more likely source of the Zapruder footage (featured in Farewell America) was Jim Garrison, who subpoenaed the film from Time-Life in 1967 and received a copy that was several generations removed from the original. Unsatisfied with the low quality of this multi-generational version, Garrison subpoenaed Time-Life again in early 1968 in an attempt to obtain an original copy of the film but was denied this request.
At some point, Mark Lane borrowed Garrison’s copy of the Zapruder film and had several copies reproduced at a lab in New Orleans, which he then distributed to his network of cronies across the JFK assassination landscape.
One recipient of Lane’s largesse was Penn Jones, Jr, editor of a small town Texas newspaper called the Midlothian Mirror, whose major claim to fame was a death chart he compiled listing every dead person he could think of who could’ve possibly been associated with the Kennedy assassination. In 1970, Jones arranged the first television broadcast of the Zapruder film on a late night television show that aired in Chicago called Underground News with Chuck Collins.
Meanwhile, a firm called EFX Unlimited was awarded a contract by Time-Life in 1969 to work on a Zapruder film related project, which is where part time JFK assassination sleuth and photo-optics technician Robert Groden enters the story. Groden—as the story goes—was working as a subcontractor for EFX Unlimited during this period and was “granted access” to an unauthorized version of the Zapruder film provided to him by EFX’s owner, Moses Weitzman.
Over the next few years, Groden enhanced this unauthorized (and much higher quality) version of the Z-film, basically slowing down the significant frames and making the footage less shaky and easier to view. In 1973—on the tenth anniversary of the JFK assassination—Groden presented his Zapruder footage at a symposium hosted by Georgetown University, an event attended by comedian activist Dick Gregory who met with Groden afterwards and encouraged him to take the film to a larger audience. This ultimately resulted in the first national airing of the Zapruder film in 1975 on Geraldo Rivera’s Good Night America.
In 1974, Fred Newcomb—in collaboration with fellow researcher Perry Adams—self-published one hundred copies of their JFK assassination tome, Murder From Within, which they distributed to members of the Senate, Congress, FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Murder From Within presented the theory that JFK’s assassination was an inside job orchestrated by LBJ and executed by Secret Service agents. Newcomb and Perry based their conclusions on an eight year investigation that included over fifty witness interviews as well as their analysis of the Zapruder film.
During the course of their analysis, Newcomb and Perry discovered in a couple of the Zapruder frames—just before and after the fatal headshot—that JFK’s limo driver turns around and appears to be holding a pistol at the exact instant that the President’s head went supernova. Newcomb and Perry were later called to share their findings before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA).
At first blush, Murder From Within might seem just one in a slew of many “crackpot” JFK assassination books that emerged over the years, mainly due to its controversial assertion that the triggerman of the operation was the aforementioned limo driver, and secret service agent, William Greer. But when one delves into the material presented in the book, it soon becomes evident that the authors went deep into their research and produced a well documented account, which included the theory that JFK’s wounds had been altered during his autopsy, a theme later explored in greater depth in David Lifton’s Best Evidence (Amazon).
In the early-80s, Newcomb and Perry started shopping around Murder From Within and over the next several years apparently struck deals, at one time or another, with three different publishers all of whom eventually decided against publishing the book because, according to Newcomb, “they were scared.”
In the late 1980s, the Greer-shot-Kennedy theory gained renewed traction when Perry Adams joined forces with researchers David Evans with Lars Hansson and the trio—using Zapruder film footage—produced what Hansson later described as a “rough, preliminary videotape” entitled The Truth Betrayed: Dallas Revisited. In Lars Hansson’s Lear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the videotape was “to serve only as a preliminary research tool to spur potential investors to underwrite a thorough professional investigation into the theory that the driver of the presidential limousine, William Greer, actually turned around and fired the fatal shot at JFK with a handgun… It was never intended at any time to be considered a final statement on the issue, much less to be shown publicly and/or distributed as such.”
During the Dallas Revisited period, Lars Hansson was part of the UFOlogical-conspiratorial scene then erupting out of Las Vegas, Nevada that included such “patriots” as James “Bo” Gritz, John Lear and William “Bill” Cooper, all of whom were often featured on The Billy Goodman Happening radio show in their mission to bust to the New World Order’s chops and expose not only the JFK Assassination Conspiracy, but also reveal the reality of reverse-engineered alien technology being developed at Areas 51, not to mention the shocking existence of a certain secret underground alien base in Dulce, New Mexico where all sorts of sinister doings have supposedly transpired over the last several decades.
John Lear was the son of the Lear Jet inventor, Bill Lear, and so Lars Hansson—figuring Lear had deep family pockets—shared a copy of Dallas Revisited with him in the prospect that he could get Lear to invest in his research. Little did Hansson know, but by this time Lear had fallen out of favor with his father, thus losing access to those deep family pockets.
Meanwhile, Lear was beginning to make a splash in UFOlogy and was responsible for setting up the first televised interview with Area 51 whistle blower Robert Lazar, who allegedly worked on reverse-engineered craft at the facility. Lear was also on the forefront of promoting the Dulce Base story and presenting this material at public lectures for the UFO faithful. After getting his paws on Dallas Revisited, Lear began showing the film at his lectures, little to the knowledge of Lars Hansson, who had never intended the film for public consumption. Lear then shared a copy of Dallas Revisited with Bill Cooper, who not only trotted it out and presented it like his own baby, but also started selling videotape copies.
When Lars Hansson caught wind of these developments, a shit-storm soon started brewing between he and Bill Cooper. According to Hansson:
“Cooper’s supporters told me a couple of months after my visit to his home that Cooper had a copy of the tape and was showing it publicly. At that time, in late October 1989, I confronted him over the phone about his dishonesty regarding his use and sale of the videotape, and have since done so publicly in print, on television, and on the radio. When he chickened out of appearing on the TV program INSIDE REPORT, which was taped in April and aired in May 1990, after learning that I would also be appearing to counter him, the producers deliberately left out half of my statement. I had made it clear on their videotape that at the time I threw the rough video together I believed that there was sufficient supporting evidence to warrant a complete investigation; however, after seeing a much clearer version of the Zapruder film, discussing the issue with a number of other respected researchers, and combing through the evidence at hand more closely, I had decided by November 1988 the theory was no longer tenable…”
Below is a YoutTube vid from the above-mentioned episode of Inside Report, featuring not only Lars Hansson, but also Fred Newcomb, Perry Adams, Robert Groden and Harold Weisberg.
And here is the startling evidence of what is either Roy Kellerman’s hair glare or, as Bill Cooper termed it in the video, William Greer firing an “electrically operated, gas powered assassination pistol built by the CIA” containing a shell fish toxin dart!
As for Murder From Within (Amazon), it was finally published in 2011 by Fred Newcomb’s son, Tyler. In the book’s introduction, Tyler Newcomb makes these comments about the Zapruder film:
“The ‘optical illusion’ on the film of the Driver turning, aiming, firing and turning back to drive at the moment Kennedy’s head explodes is mind shattering. What are the odds such a thing could actually happen at that exact instant on the most important amateur film ever made? The ‘gun’ however upon close frame inspection appears to be part of Roy Kellerman’s hair. But is it? No one can prove it either way because the film was in possession of the Secret Service and if Dad’s theory is correct they were busy altering the film itself creating a new original obliterating their complicity in the killing.”
In 1994 Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty took a million pounds to a deserted boathouse on the island of Jura and burnt it. The writer JMR Higgs looked at this event from a magickal perspective and came up with some interesting results. The story involves the world’s first joke religion, the JFK assasination, Robert Anton Wilson, Alan Moore and a bunch of ideas collectively known as “Chaos Magick”.
“No Muse-poet grows conscious of the Muse except by experience of a woman in whom the Goddess is to some degree resident; just as no Apollonian poet can perform his proper function unless he lives under a monarchy or a quasi-monarchy. A Muse-poet falls in love, absolutely, and his true love is for him the embodiment of the Muse…
But the real, perpetually obsessed Muse-poet distinguishes between the Goddess as manifest in the supreme power, glory, wisdom, and love of woman, and the individual woman whom the Goddess may make her instrument…
The Goddess abides; and perhaps he will again have knowledge of her through his experience of another woman…” —Robert Graves, The White Goddess
Robert Graves—in the above passage—was obviously referring to Eris, although he tried to sugar coat the whole thing to make it appear as if our Lady of Perpetual Chaos is all sweetness and light, which is totally missing the point. Or as Eris herself once said in a certain SoCal bowling alley:
I have come to tell you that you are free. Many ages ago, my consciousness left man, that he might develop himself. I return to find this development approaching completion, but hindered by fear and by misunderstanding. You have built for yourselves psychic suits of armor, and clad in them, your vision is restricted, your movements are clumsy and painful, your skin is bruised, and your spirit is broiled in the sun. I am chaos. I am the substance from which your artists and scientists build rhythms. I am the spirit with which your children and clowns laugh in happy anarchy. I am chaos. I am alive, and I tell you that you are free.
In The Big Lebowski, the Coen Brothers use the holy bowling alley metaphor to further expound upon the Erisian mythos, featuring Jeff Bridges in his classic role of The Dude, the embodiment of Southern California-cool-Eristic-forces-in-action. The last line he delivers in the film is: “The Dude abides,” which certainly seems a wink and nod to a certain Goddess who also abides—or as a way of saying that the Goddess abides in The Dude.
An erstwhile political activist—fond of White Russians, smoking dope and bowling (but not The Eagles)—The Dude goes with the Erisian flow, unconcerned about paying his rent and, in fact, it appears he has no visible means of support and relies entirely upon the will of Eris to guide his chaotic movements and settle his bills. Here the Dude expounds upon The Eagles:
At the eighteen minute mark in the film we see The Dude’s bowling lane identified as the holy Discordian number 23.
The Erisian forces are then set in motion when a guy named Smokey from the opposing bowling team steps over the line during a league match, which sends Walter (John Goodman) on a tirade; Walter brandishes his gun, aims it at Smokey and screams: “Has the whole world gone crazy?” Some may see Walter as an out of control gun wielding wacko, but in reality he’s channeling the chaotic Erisian forces in an attempt to bring some semblance of real order and sanity to a world gone mad with lane violations.
With all his ups and downs, The Dude always seems to land on his feet (more often than not in slippers… or bowling shoes) which attests to the fact that if you put your trust in Eris (In Goddess We Trust!) then some spectacular shit is bound to happen along the way—or at least you won’t be bored!
Conversely—on the other side of the yin-yang coin (or the Hodge-Podge, have you)—there’s that big meanie Jeffrey Lebowski; a man—due to his fucked-up control freak nature—who is crippled, both literally and karmically; a constricted and conniving sour-pus possessed by The Curse of Greyface.
Thus you have the two competing Lebowski’s, a veritable yin-yang/hodge-podge of counter push pull contrasting styles. First, Jeffrey Lebowski (The Big Lebowski played by David Huddleston) who has employed his wealth and power in an attempt to control others; whereas The Dude, well, you know how he rolls. Or as Sam Elliot (as “The Stranger”) says: “Dude, I like your style” …or something to that effect.
The grey-faced aneristic order the Big Lebowski conjures into existence is a group of nihilist Nazis ne’er-do-wells who attempt to rob The Dude of his Erisian powers. In the final showdown, the nihilists attempt to harness Eris and control chaos, but end up getting their asses handed to them when Walter invokes Goddess and launches a bowling ball (the symbolic Golden Apple) knocking the crap out of one of the nihilists along with chomping off the ear of another. Although a glorious Erisian victory, a casualty is unfortunately suffered during the melee when their buddy Donny (Steve Buscemi) dies of a heart attack. Here is Walter’s moving eulogy for Donny.
Goddess reveals herself in many others ways throughout the course of the film, one of which comes in the form of the Big Lebowski’s free spirited and fun loving wife, Bunny, who embodies the trickster spirit of that Great Discordian Saint, Bugs Bunny.
And of course the Goddess manifests in the Big Lebowski’s daughter—Maude (Julianne Moore)—who has rebelled against hers father’s control and chooses The Dude to impregnate her with a magickal child of Chaos; an intentional act to get that old Hodge-Podge-counter-push-pull moving in a positive direction, Eristic vs. Aneristic.
At the 20 minute mark, another deity in the Discordian pantheon appears, none other than his holiness Richard Milhous Nixon shown in full stride as he prepares to roll a Kallisti-inscribed bowling ball into the dark, savage heart of the American dream. Just one more among many apparent Discordian winks and nods imbedded in The Big Lebowski.
I must also mention another Nixon-related synchronicity that occurred not long ago when Andrew West Griffin of the Red Dirt Report tweeted a pic of Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society with the very same Tricky Dick image in the background. And if that wasn’t enough, on Andrew’s table rested a copy of Jung’s Red Book—another stone-cold synchronicity which I probably shouldn’t need to explain.
When I asked if he’d intentionally placed the Nixon bowling photo in his Historia Discordia pic—or Jung’s Red Book, for that matter—Andrew replied it’d happened by pure dumb luck, which once again confirms the spirit of Eris busy at work directing human affairs and simultaneously blowing our brains.
In this regard, it should also be noted there are now more Dudeist Priests in Ireland than Catholic ones. Hail Eris!
Included in the Dudeism iconography is a yin-yang like symbol, which seems also a twist on The Sacred Chao but instead of the Golden Apple yin-yanging the Pentagon you have the bowling ball symbol with finger holes balanced against one another in the cosmic drama of life.
And just like Mal-2 back in the day, The Church of the Latter-Day Dudes likewise issues their own certificates of ordination if you so desire to become a Dudeist Priest.
And now, here’s the greatest musical interlude in… well… musical interlude history:
In the chapter from my book Caught in the Crossfire: Kerry Thornley, Lee Oswald and the Garrison Investigation (Amazon) called “Photographic Tomfoolery,” I recount some rather sketchy activities undertaken by Harold Weisberg (on behalf of Jim Garrison’s investigation) which involved the recruitment of California artist and JFK assassination investigator Fred T. Newcomb to retouch a photo of Kerry Thornley, the intent of which was to use these altered photos to build a case against Thornley suggesting he was one of the notorious Oswald doubles.
Recently, ace investigator of the odd and arcane, Tim Cridland, shared with me the following letter he uncovered in The Harold Weisberg Archive at http://jfk.hood.edu that an embittered Fred Newcomb sent to Weisberg in the aftermath of this debacle, the second paragraph of which is the most telling:
“Ever since you asked me (on New Orleans stationary) in an unsigned letter, to retouch a photo of Kerry Thornley, I have had a bad taste in my mouth. Not only did you send me on this foolish assignment, but when the flack started, you ducked for cover…”
Fred Newcomb’s January 15th, 1969 letter also includes snipes at “investigators” Steve Jaffe and Jim Rose, who were both on the Garrison dole, and who both spent a considerable amount of time attempting to dig up dirt on Kerry Thornley. (More about the enigmatic “Jim Rose” in future installments!)
As for the abovementioned touch-up caper, this was first exposed by Kerry Thornley’s lawyer, Arnold Levine, in an article that appeared in the November 27, 1968 edition of the Tampa Times:
Photo touch-up charged
By TOM RAUM Times Staff Writer
Did New Orleans Dist. Atty. Jim Garrison commission a set of deliberately “touched-up” photographs of Tampan Kerry Thornley to show an allowed likeness to accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald?
The possibility was confirmed to The Times today by Thornley’s attorney, Arnold Levine. An aide to Garrison has disclaimed any such order.
The Times learned of the existence of a letter which was reportedly mailed to a freelance artist in California bearing the letterhead of Garrison’s office. The letter contained a purported request to “touch-up” photographs “to make Thornley look as much as possible like Oswald.”
THORNLEY, onetime buddy of Oswald, is being prosecuted by Garrison about his connection with the alleged assassin in New Orleans during the months prior to the John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963.
Attorney Levine said he has reason to believe Garrison wanted to use the touched-up photographs to support a theory that Thornley posed as Oswald on several occasions when Oswald was away from New Orleans—apparently on clandestine missions.
The Times has also come into the possession of copies of photos which Levine said were re-touched by the California artist, as well as another letter apparently from one of Garrison’s assistants denying that the district attorney had any intention of using a “‘touched-up’ photograph of Kerry Thornley in his trial.”
The 29-year old Tampa free lance writer, who served in the same Marine Corps outfit with Lee Harvey Oswald, is presently awaiting trial on the perjury charge. Specifically, he is charged with lying before a New Orleans grand jury last winter.
LEVINE TERMED the request to touch-up Thornley’s photograph “just another example of the sham” of Garrison’s investigation, and the charges which have been lodged against the Tampan.
The letter asking for the “re-touch” job bears the date of March 12, and the name of Harold Weisberg, a New Orleans writer whom Levine said has a “well-known” connection with Garrison.
Written on what appears to be official stationery, the letter, addressed to Fred Newcomb of Sherman Oaks, Calif., says:
“Enclosed are four sets of pictures of Kerry Thornley printed backwards but otherwise entirely untouched. My purpose was to emphasize the resemblance to Oswald and his receding hairline, which when his hair is combed the opposite of his normal fashion is quite emphatic.
“WHAT I WOULD like you to do with one of each pair is pretend you were a make-up man doing the minimum necessary to make Thornley look as much as possible like Oswald as for example by pruning off or brushing back the forelock, trimming the eye¬brows, shadowing the chin, etc.
“I would like you to keep one pair for your use out there, send one pair to me and the other two to Jim Garrison …”
The letter indicates that it was typed by a secretary with the initials “bb.”
A second letter, dated May 21, and also bearing the “bb” initials purports to be from executive assistant Dist. Atty. James Alcock to artist Newcomb, and reads:
“I HAVE just received the documents you sent concerning Harold Weisberg’s request for you to do some photograph touching-up on pictures of Kerry Thornley. So that the record may be set straight, Mr. Weisberg, who is not a member of our staff, made the request without our authority or consent.
“Further, this office has absolutely no intention of using any ‘touch-up’ of Kerry Thornley in his trial…”
Neither Garrison nor Alcock could he reached by The Times today for comment, but a receptionist in the district attorney’s office confirmed that there is a typist in the office typing pool with the initials “bb.” She declined to give her name.
THE RECEPTIONIST said that while Weisberg “isn’t a member of the staff he was well known in the office.”
Weisberg, author of “Whitewash,” is presently in Frederick, Md., the DA’s office said.
Garrison alleges that Oswald, David Ferrie, Clay Shaw and Jack Ruby, working on the fringe of the CIA hatched the assassination plot while they were in New Orleans in 1963.
Thornley, who has published a book on his acquaintance with Oswald, denies he met with Oswald in New Orleans.
No trial date has been set for Thornley’s case.
According to Kerry Thornley, this wasn’t the last of such photographic chicanery:
“Visitors to (Garrison’s) office from the Los Angeles Free Press were shown half a photograph with me in it.
“In the other half of this picture is Marina Oswald,” they would be told, and it was obvious that I had my arm around someone. Soon enough a Free Press staffer identified this photo as the same one which had appeared in a January 1968 Tampa newspaper. It showed me standing outside the courtroom just after my extradition hearing with my arm around my wife, Cara. The negative was flopped in Garrison’s print, but even Garrison’s most fanatical partisans had to admit it was the same picture….” —Kerry Thornley, Star Witness Story (Unpublished essay, 1975)
Fred Newcomb—working from a flopped negative of the above photo of Thornley and his wife—modified it per instructions from Harold Weisberg.
In the November 28th edition of the Tampa Times, Harold Weisberg responded to the touch-up allegations.