Wednesday, July 25, 2007


All right. All right all right. Boldly, if stickily, stepping away from peanut butter.

Gordon D. Hall started collecting information on extremist groups in 1947. Before that, as far as I can tell, he had never formally studied these groups. I'm not sure he finished high school. I don't know even know how old he was or what color shoes he wore in 1947, but word on the street is he started collecting around then. Maybe it was a fluke thing. Maybe he accidentally got a flyer from White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and had a notion. Or perhaps he had delusions of spydom and got really into giving himself pseudonyms and P.O. boxes all over New England. Or maybe he thought if he collected fanatically enough, and for long enough, he'd start touring and giving lectures (which he did) and that he would gather enough fame to live comfortably without steady employment (which he didn't, in a big way). Or maybe he expected to sell the collection to a library for a tidy sum (which he did, but i'll get to that).

Who in tarnation was Gordon Hall? This guy is nowhere online. Nearly fifty years of collecting and he never published anything, never taught formally, only made small appearances before religious organizations and private schools, spreading awareness of...somethings.

Sometime in the past few years, someone took Gordon's collection--literally tens of thousands of letters, pamphlets, magazines, and other stuffs--and dumped it all into about 250 cardboard boxes, which were sold to the John hay library. five days a week, 7 hours a day, seven people pore over this collection, one box at a time, letter by newsletter, and one of these people is me. I open a cardboard box nearly spitting with mailaphernalia, not knowing what strange or terrifying scratchings will make their way into my hand.
i read:*

"Racial Greetings Mr. Beach [pseudonym],
We are pleased to know you are not Irish, Jewish, or a Nigger. Here is our latest newsletter and a pamphlet me and the other leader wrote up a couple years ago when we first started this organization. It says our mission, which is to save the Holy White Race, wich [sic] as you know Communist Jews and Negros are plotting to destroy. If you want to join our fight, we would be greatful [sic] for your donation. Heil Hitler!"

i read:
"Dear Mr. Hall, Thank you for speaking at my middle school I learned a lot, especially about Black Panthers who are not just a type of animal. I am very interesting in learning more about this group, would you please send me the packet you mentioned in your talk. Sincerely..."

i read:


i read:**

"Father was the undisputed head of the family, the backbone and strength of independent America. Right after the plans for world enslavement were perfected and districuted to Jewish leaders throughout the world by the learned elders of Zion, the Jewish-controlled press began to undermine Father. Very soon they reduced Father to equality with our women folk, climaxing in woman suffrage...DESTRUCTION OF THE FAMILY is a key principle of communist demoralization. our children have actually been stolen away from us by the hateful Jewish World Enslavers."

and by the same enlightened author:

"They take Negro jungle throbbings designed as a warm-up for savage ecstatic orgies and force our sheeplike public to accept them as 'great music'. They force us to admit as complete equals the stupid, childish, amoral Negro race, which has YET to produce ONE contribution to civilization, ONE great man, ONE civilized country."

There are pictures of mangled fetuses, articles about "loudmouth homosexuals who want to deny your rights to oppose them," and, of course, Jesus clipart. There's leftist stuff too, but it's not as (how to say?) thrilling.

A bit of light summer reading? I comfort myself with the probability that most of this stuff is written by two fuckheads in a basement in Missouri, and by listening to the soothing liberalism coming out of my Internet waves (?) in the form of This American Life. Also, that there is free tea downstairs in the lounge. And my next paycheck is growing real steady.

*quotations are approximate
**direct quotations

Friday, July 20, 2007

P {nut:butter}

there's not much peanut butter left in providence 2007, so let's get grinding before we all disappear...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Peanut Bjorn & Desi Jon

I know what you're thinking, but don't worry: I too didn't eat any PB today. And surprisingly, my day wasn't that much of a let down.

But speaking of peanut butter, have you ever seen a dog eat some of the divine spread? (when someone mentions PB and dogs you probably think of another urban legend, but lets stick to suburban — and family-friendly — legends). Watching a dog chomp, chomp, chomp away at PB is some mix of hilarious and adorable, assuming you're not PETA, who I fear, with the help of Snow, will firebomb my house and this blog. Unfortunately, peanut butter is highly combustible.

When I was in India, I never saw packaged legit peanut butter but they have Desi peanut butter, which is sorta like home-produced (think: Midwest methlabs) peanut butter. That in itself is not that interesting, but I wanted to use it to segue into discussion of Desi items in India, in general. The word just sort of means Indian (I guess), but it's come to mean unsynthetic, organic, low-fi etc — and in particular, always returns to discussion of Desi alcohol. And as you can imagine, it's probably not the best idea to buy whatever fermented elixir is for sale at your local Desi alcohol store — unless, you ran out of pesticide for your crop-duster or need to unclog a drain. I'll stick to peanut butter anyday.


Monday, July 9, 2007


I hail from The Goober State. It has other names, but Goober State is the best one. Goober means peanut. In addition, it is probably the only word that is ever accidentally spelled 'booger.' It is also used as an insult sometimes, i.e. "Francis, stop trying on mom's bras, you goober." This summer I live in Providence, which is the capital of Rhode Island. Rhode Island is The Ocean State because it's the only state that is by the ocean. Missouri is called the Come On State.

I come from The Goober State, born and raised. Goober roots are far-reaching and everlasting, but Georgia is just peanuts (ha). This summer, I put my goobery roots down in Providence. Providence, this summer, is PEANUT BUTTER.

(Peanut butter. That most blissful of creamy crunchy silky sticky spreadable spoonable goos ever invented. I believe that if I were to meet the person who invented this goobery goodness, I could very quickly become quite amorous...)

Illinois is called The Sucker State.

A sucker is a fish, or someone who spends four months in Russia, whose only nicknames I know of are The Motherland and The Fatherland, craving peanut butter. In that country, the words 'peanut butter' make no sense. Not just because the phrase doesn't translate directly, but because the concept makes no sense to Russians. Russians make no sense to me. The Russian words for the american substance called peanut butter translate to 'peanut paste,' but the only people who know what this term means know it because they have met Americans before. And every Russian who's met an American before has heard this term, because crazy Americans are all craving it like mad all the time.

Bhutan is the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

PB&B Eaten Today

I ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich today (because we were out of jam). I was watching Man vs. Wild. I felt a little weird about eating a sandwich which symbolizes so well the kind of plentiful sustenance that Bear Grylls (the Man in Man vs. Wild) daily lacks on the show. But that's why I watch it. HARDCORE SURVIVAL, so I don't have to. Here's a picture of Bear sifting through a dead, rotting animal corpse for maggots to eat while stranded in the French Alps.

Enjoy your peanut butter days!

On Skippy and Jif

It began sort of by accident, really: when Greg and I inherited our house, it just happened to also house three unopened jars of Skippy. They were sort of like a housewarming present. Very sticky housewarming presents.

As the humid days of summer began to dwindle away (like our pasta reserves), we took to peanut butter sandwiches — ritually and daily. You know how Haruki Murakami wrote of his days of spaghetti-obsessing in his first short story collections? Our days of spreading Skip on cold multi grain are like that; lethargic moments of concocting complexities with bread and a knife — only our plates were left with crumbs on them, rather than pasta sauce.

Did I just compare myself to Haruki Murakami? I did. Another equally important question: is this blog passive aggressively competing with Butter Days (from whom our namesake comes)? Yes it is. And we plan to kick the strawberry jam out of them.


P.S. We're really worried that Michelle is going to come beat us (me) up.