Monthly Archives: April 2021
There was no Tea’s Weird Week column last week and it’s because I hit a wall and just could not write at all. Not in the least bit. It was the first time there was an unplanned skip in this weekly column.
It’s strange cause the week started off great– my friend’s at Lion’s Tooth, a wonderful new bookstore in Milwaukee, had me in to sign more copies of my book American Madness. They told me it’s selling pretty well there, so I was happy to visit, sign their stock, and pick up a few books and a t-shirt for myself. (Keep it rolling, order from them here: https://www.lionstoothmke.com/american_madness.html#/ ) Good stuff.
But the next day, Monday, I had a deadline for two short articles. If you don’t know me outside of my “weird” work, I freelance for some local publications here in Milwaukee on a wide range of topics, including (but not limited to) art, music, food/drink, local businesses, performance art, comedy, interviews with local people doing interesting things. Freelancing, like anything, has advantages and disadvantages. I really enjoy getting out to meet new creative people, learn about new things, and see some behind the scenes stuff. I’ve never had to write a story that I didn’t want to work on. That said, freelancing is often a roll of the dice and sometimes stressful and frustrating.
Anyway, two short articles– super easy! I could open up two laptops and type both these suckers out at the same time! But for some unknown reason, it really burned me out. A couple other small things happened– nothing terrible, nothing earth shattering, but the combination of a few irritations and failures made me incredibly bitter, mentally exhausted, and in serious doubt that I have any legit skill or talent by Tuesday evening. I looked at my writing projects in development– there’s about 5– and I just saw wheels spinning, kicking up dirt. What a long week…wait, it’s Tuesday?…ah shit. Non-fiction writer’s block is different than the fiction version, but it is a thing.
I didn’t have any other deadlines on the horizon, so I decided to choose the best possible option for that particular time and place I was in, which was to fuck off for the rest of the week. This is not something I do often, but I got to tell you, sometimes you need to use a well placed FUCK IT.
Writing is a tough business. There’s quite a few people I’ve met who have given up on the writing thing because of the painful, intimidating gauntlet of rejection– the cold, uncaring void that will drain the pages right out of you, the struggle to find the right words. My experience has been that writing is a practice of love, pain, humility, patience, fun, grief, the highs of accomplishment, the lows of self-doubt, and much more.
I make a lot lists to keep my writing on track, but I threw them all out last week. I sure as hell didn’t do any writing. I cleaned my office, I planted some seedlings, I went for walks and thought about life, I did the dishes, I had some drinks and watched some TV. On Monday, I got moving again– slowly. It was time to get back into the game. I guess, for better or worse, I’m a writer.
Here is my 2 cent writing advice– you will want to quit, you will think you suck, you will want to burn it. Don’t. When you hit a wall, take a break if you need to, but don’t give up– dig under it, climb over it, bounce off of it, crash through it like the Kool-Aid Man. Oh yeaaaah!
Looking forward to future projects/ events really helps me not give up. Here’s some positive things coming up for me:
–Tea’s Weird Week podcast, season 2– soon, working on it. Should be back in a couple weeks. Check out the podcast page for links to season 1 on your favorite podcast platforms: https://teakrulos.com/teas-weird-week-podcast-4/
-Milwaukee Press Club Awards– I’m one of the finalists in the “short hard news” category, they’ll be announcing in a virtual event May 19 whether I got the gold, silver, or bronze. I’m honored to be nominated.
–Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories & Sketches is a collection of short stories I wrote about a greasy spoon/drugstore I worked at in my youth. It’ll be out next year from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press.
-Like I said, I got several writing projects in development, though nothing sold or on deadline yet. We’ll see what happens with all that.
With that, I’m going to move on to some hopefully wall-free writing while I’m still “on.”
Check out my books:
The Tea’s Weird Week podcast is on “vacation” as we’re trying to catch up on ideas for future podcast episodes as well as getting our Patreon rolling– check it out, lots of very cool perks at a number of affordable levels: www.patreon.com/teasweirdweek
This week I just thought I’d share a pretty crazy story I ran into while doing some light research. Like other authors, I always have a few irons in the fire– I’m working on developing a couple of non-fiction book ideas, as well as a couple of fiction ones. I’m not sure what is going to be completed first (if completed at all) or what might roll out when, but one of these fiction manuscripts is a horror novel that includes a plot involving sleep paralysis and sleep deprivation.
I was looking into the latter when I found the story of Peter Tripp, a top 40 DJ who decided to be involved with a publicity stunt. He agreed to DJ live on WMGM (where he had a show called “Your Hits of the Week”) for 200 hours (a little over 8 days) straight without sleep from a glass DJ booth in Times Square (so people could go and see him, like a sleep deprived fish in an aquarium) as a fundraiser for March of Dimes. This “Wake-A-Thon” was in late January, 1959.
It was somewhere around 120 hours into the “Wake-A-Thon” that Tripp went from extremely drowsy to beginning to lose his damn mind. He suffered from hallucinations– at one point he began to see spiders crawling out of his shoes and mice and kittens scurrying around his feet inside the studio. He had a hotel room next door where he could freshen up and there he hallucinated flames shooting out of a dresser drawer. In another instance he believed a scientist sent to observe him was an undertaker after his body, so he ran out of the studio into Times Square and had to wrangled back in. He grew paranoid of the scientists who were observing him and thought they were in league against him, trying to poison him. He had difficulty reciting the alphabet.
The scientists monitored Tripp’s brain waves and found that his hallucination freak outs mirrored the 90 minute REM cycles he brain would experience if he was asleep, so his brain was dreaming while he was awake. The last 60 hours or so were only maintained by an administered stimulant. After he hit 200 hours, he crashed out– he reportedly slept 13 hours, 13 minutes.
Like any bad idea, the “Wake-a-Thon” craze spread to other DJs looking to duplicate Tripp’s publicity. Dozens of DJs attempted to beat Tripp’s record in 1959 and into the 60s.
Poor Peter Tripp! As one report notes, “it is often reported that the sleep-deprivation marathon had a long-term effect on his personality.” Tripp view himself as an “imposter,” what I’m interpreting to mean something like a Twin Peaks doppelganger. His marriage (one of four) fell apart shortly after the Wake-a-Thon. The next year, he was also hit for being part of the “payola” scandal, where DJs received money for playing certain songs to make them a hit. His radio DJ career drifted around California and ended up in Ohio before he quit the biz in 1967. He died in 2000 at age 73.
Now I think I’ll go take a nap.
Inglis-Arkell, Esther. “The Sleep Deprivation Publicity Stunt That Drove One Man Crazy,” Gizmodo.com.
tenwatts.blogspot.com, “DJ Marathon Stay-Awake Records.”
Rolls, Geoff. “The Men Who Didn’t Sleep: Peter Tripp and Eric Gardner,” chapter from Classic Case Studies in Psychology.
And this short doc:
You can find the Tea’s Weird Week podcast here: https://teakrulos.com/teas-weird-week-podcast-4/
Check out my books:
In this age of QAnon, we’ve seen the most outlandish conspiracies spread on the Internet. Just to mention a few– “mole children” being held captive underneath Central Park, prisoners of the “Deep State” to be used in sex trafficking and to harvest their “adrenochrome” by the same sinister cabal that brought you Pizzagate. There was also the theory that Wayfair was delivering child sex slaves in their furniture. On March 4, the “real inauguration” of Trump was supposed to take place. Recently, there’s been a conspiracy that Joe Biden is either a deepfake or is just pretending to be president in front of a greenscreen.
And now the news of the day– a cargo ship getting stuck sideways in the Suez Canal is the latest to have a thumbtack and long piece of yard attached to it. This theory stars QAnon’s ultimate boss bad guy Hillary Clinton.
The first and longest running conspiracy involving Hill and Bill is the “Clinton Body Count.” I love the title of that conspiracy because I imaging the Clintons sneaking around as a couple, killing people in person. Bill sneaks up behind someone and chokes them with his tie while Hillary whips out a shank and starts stabbing, all while some grindcore shreds in the background. Brutal!
But seriously, the theory suggests that a great number of people somehow associated with the Clintons have been killed by Clinton bankrolled hitmen. It’s like a death version of “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon”– anyone you can tie to the Clintons who has died is said to be part of the hit list.
Pizzagate was the next step of adding to the Clinton conspiracy mythology. Hillary and her people (most notably John Podesta, who was a member of Bill’s cabinet and campaign advisor to Hillary–leaked emails showing his love of pizza parties was the centerpiece of Pizzagate) were said to be the masterminds of a child sex trafficking ring operating in DC, a satanic cabal of Democrats, Hollywood elites, the fake news media, etc. that rape and eat children and get high off of their “adrenochrome.”
The darkest place these conspiracies go is a hoax called “frazzledrip.” This is supposedly the name of a snuff video that shows Hillary and her advisor Huma Abedin torturing, raping, and drinking the blood of a young girl to get high on her adrenochrome. It was supposedly leaked from the laptop of Abedin’s ex-husband Anthony Wiener, but the video does not exist on the dark web or anywhere else.
The latest QAnon nonsense suggests that this ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal is Hillary Clinton’s personal sex trafficking vehicle. That’s right, those shipping containers are filled with children heading to a Pizzagate-style ring. That’s a big claim. What’s the evidence? Well…
– The ship, the Ever Given, is owned by a Taiwanese company called Evergreen. Clinton was given the Secret Service code name “Evergreen” (Bill’s was “Eagle”).
-The Ever Given’s radio call sign is H3RC, uh oh that means Hillary Rodham Clinton.
-What’s on the boat? Shipping containers that QAnon says are full of sex trafficking victims. And maybe a lot– the ship holds up to 20,000 20 foot long containers.
-The ship’s charted course allegedly shows that it drew a dick in the Red Sea. To what end? The Qanon theory was to draw attention to the ship. As Vice reports, one Q follower posted:
“Those ships are on auto-pilot most of the time. The computers do the work. I am suggesting that the ship’s computers were hacked. My suspicions lean toward the White Hats. This was part of the plan.”
QAnon believed that the ship had purposely been grounded so the world could see the shipping containers being opened, the sex trafficking victims released and Hillary Clinton exposed for the satanic pedophile cannibal/ shipping magnate that she was. That, of course, didn’t happen.
Why would someone who is running a human trafficking ring leave clues as to their identity behind? Do people actually believe this shit? They sure do, and it’s led to a social epidemic of unhinged violence.
The biggest incident was the Jan. 6 insurrection, which had a large contingency of QAnon believers. But there’s been a few examples over the last month. On March 15, a man drove a car covered with spray-painted Q slogans (like “wwg1wga” which means “where we go one, we go all.”) to a National Guard.
And here’s the latest person to snap from conspiracy– a person named Benjamin Orion Carlson Kohlman went on an early morning rampage earlier on March 30, setting three Vancouver area masonic lodges on fire. The Freemasons have long been a part of conspiracy lore as a secret organization that controls the world. He escaped an altercation with a police officer and posted on his social media that he had “just cleaned three satanic clubhouses and nobody could do anything,” there was no QAnon connection reported, but other posts promoted 9/11 and Flat Earth conspiracies, and a post from 2018 showed an image of a masonic hall with text that read “Masons meet secretly to plan the truth they want you to see.” Source: CTV News
Conspiracy continues to beget violence.
SEE ALSO: The new HBO documentary Q: Into the Storm documents the origins of QAnon and how it evolved from a dark corner of the Internet to the mainstream.
In the opening sequence of Q: Into the Storm, the documentary maker talks about not being able to see an owl without thinking about Moloch; if you want to know the origins of all that, as well an intro to QAnon and many examples of how conspiracy thinking is dangerous, please do check out my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness. You’ll find similarities– arson, Freemasons– to this latest story out of Vancouver.
Tea’s Weird Week, episode 12: I talk more about this column and the future of this podcast in the “Please Clap Dept.” Me and Heidi talk about a zombie rabies strain (plus the zombie-vampire political study), a plague doctor stalking Scotland, the saga of Salmon Dream, the worst T-shirt ever, and a sewer mystery. Plus trivia with Miss Information, and we close out with a track from our sound engineer, Android138, “The Dreams that we Dare to Dream.”
You can listen here: Tea’s Weird Week episode 12: Conspiracy on the Suez Canal (podbean.com)