Author Archives: teakrulos

Tea’s Weird Hiatus

Writing is hard. And so I must journey, good book (The AP Stylebook) in hand for a voyage up the Grammarly Mountains to consult the wise gurus there– Who, What, Why, When, and Where (and sometimes the elusive How). I have to make some decisions on what writing projects I want to marry, fuck, or kill. There is a lot to reevaluate and figure out.

As such, this column will be on hiatus for a bit. The podcast has also concluded for now (see link for season finale below.) I don’t know when I’ll write this column again– weeks, months? Like an old song says, we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…

Well, actually, I do know where if you feel inclined to visit me, here’s three places I’ll be appearing in person over the next month or so:

This Saturday, Sept. 10, 11am-1pm: I’ll be at the Feral House Table at the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago: printersrowlitfest.org

Sunday, Sept. 18, 11am-6pmAwkward Nerd Book Fair @ The Cooperage in Milwaukee: https://www.facebook.com/events/1013611836004355/ 

Saturday, Oct. 15: Milwaukee Paranormal Conference: milwaukeeparacon.com

Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep09: Season 5 Finale

Tea and Heidi discuss weird news about planets in retrograde, a world record breaking pumpkin boat ride, again with Uri Geller, robot news, and phantom clowns. Plus trivia answers and we close out with a track by The Grovelers, “Rock Bottom.” That’s it for this season!
Listen here: teasweirdweek.podbean.com/e/tea-s-weird-week-s5-ep09-season-5-finale
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Tea’s Weird Week: The Chessboxer, Part 2

Last week I wrote about how my wheels were spinning thinking about what my second book might be (it eventually was an exploration of paranormal investigators titled Monster Hunters). One concept I had was learning to be a chessboxer. Chessboxing is a sport invented in the early 2000s that intersperses rounds of chess and boxing. You can win by knockout, checkmate, or by points from punches and captured pieces. In “The Chessboxer, Part 1,” I talked about hiring a chess coach, Aqeel.

My follow up is going to be short. I’m extremely burnt out this week, I wouldn’t even know where to begin to explain why.

In looking for a place to train as a boxer, I found a unique spot here in Milwaukee, it’s called the Ace Boxing Club. It’s not a state-of-the-art MMA facility, but more like an old garage with well worn equipment. It was mostly perfect. I wrote about the gym for an article in the Shepherd Express back in 2012. I sometimes look back at old stuff I’ve written and cringe to various degrees, but I actually love this one. It’s a solid profile on a place with a lot of heart: Ace Boxing Club and the Porter Legacy – Shepherd Express

Photo inside Ace Boxing Club from the Shepherd Express

I trained at Ace in the ring, I trained with Aqeel on the chessboard, but then something happened: I sold my second book. I now had a big project to work on and between that and trying to balance everything else in my crazy life (a struggle I still have ten years later) the lessons began to be skipped and the idea faded away. That’s too bad. I really enjoyed that period of my life. Maybe I’ll try to bring it back and The Chessboxer will live again.

We skipped the TWW podcast this week cause I was too busy. We’ll be back next week.

Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Week: The Chessboxer, Part 1

In 2012, I sold my first book, Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement. I was riding pretty high on that one. Writing has its ups and downs. It’s a hard biz. But that moment in 2012 will always be an up.

And, of course, my immediate thoughts were: what next? Eventually my second book would be Monster Hunters, an exploration of the world of paranormal investigators. But before that was established, I had a few other ideas on Tea Krulos’ Second Book.

One idea was what would become American Madness, which ended up being my 4th book. My publisher at the time (Chicago Review Press) was not very keen on it, and in hindsight I’m really glad for that because the story was nowhere near complete at that time. So I put that project on the backburner.

Another idea I had was looking into writing a biography of the Violent Femmes. I don’t really ever want to be stuck writing about one genre or idea, so a music bio seemed like a good idea. Plus the Femmes were incubated, much like me, in this weird city called Milwaukee. Around that time I had written a short article on OG Femmes drummer Victor DeLorenzo’s current band Nineteen Thirteen. He’s a very cool guy, so I thought I might start there. But Chicago Review Press wasn’t keen on that idea, either. Editors!

I also had an idea for a book that would explore the relationship between humans and shark, working title “Man Bites Shark.” I envisioned writing about things like the shark fin soup industry, the impact Jaws had on society, the story of the guy who got bit by a shark but advocates for their conservancy, etc.

One day, and this was a real weird moment for me, I went with my sisters to the mall and was killing time wandering around Barnes & Noble looking at displays, seeing what was out there. A book caught my eye and I started flipping through it. This book was exactly like my idea, down to the chapter breakdowns and everything, it was uncanny. Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks by Juliet Eilperin is a great book, but it’s not mine!

And then there was another idea I had– CHESSBOXING.

I don’t know how I had heard of it, but chessboxing is an unusual sport that began in Berlin in 2003 and developed a following there as well as London. It spread to India, Russia, and other countries. There are American chessboxers but my impression is not a real huge following here. Anyway, as the name suggests, the sport intersperses rounds of boxing with rounds of chess. A player can win by knock out, checkmate, or point evaluation on punches landed and chess pieces captured.

Chessboxers in action.

What I imagined writing was admittedly a bit of stunt journalism– I would train to become a chessboxer with the goal of participating in at least one match and write about the experience. You know, “My Journey as a Chessboxer and Blah Blah Blah.” It appealed to me because it seemed like a great challenge to be sharp physically and mentally. I was sure there would be some kind of journey there to write about.

I had a big problem, though– I had zero experience boxing and only a rudimentary understanding of chess. I knew how the pieces moved, but had no concept of strategy, endgame, or anything else. I tried picking up a book on improving your game, but it read kind of like instructions to putting together something from IKEA. I decided instead to put a classified ad in a community newspaper I’ve written for, the Riverwest Currents, soliciting a chess coach. I got a response.

I don’t know what I expected, but Aqeel was a large, bald, black guy in a Rascal scooter, always dressed in a bright Hawaiian shirt. He told me he played “street chess” and that the first lesson was free. He taught me a move called the “Fool’s Mate” during that first lesson in which you unleash checkmate in a few short moves to your unexpecting opponent. I told him he was hired.

He lived in an apartment downtown, so twice a week for several months I took a bus there so we could hang out in his living room for a lesson. He had a constant stream of visitors who would drop by to give him food or ask to borrow $5 til Friday.

He was usually a good natured, jolly type of person. He was always commenting on my chess moves, either to psych me out or to offer a clue I was making a bad move. Some examples:

(On why I would sacrifice my knight): Well, like my mom used to say, sometimes you need to bring ass to get ass.

You make that move, you’re going to be badder than Michael Jackson (and not bad in a good way).

(After making a bold move) You wanna go there? Well then, in the words of Marvin Gaye, let’s get it on!

Other things I remember– he was an interesting person, for sure. He made an incredible homemade honey lemonade and he showed me YouTube videos of ambient sound that he said helped open his pineal gland.

Aqeel was teaching me some moves on the board, but now I needed to learn how to box.

Next Week: Ding ding ding!

Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep08: Twisted Dreams
Tea talks to Christopher House about the upcoming Twisted Dreams Film Festival, a horror showcase here in Milwaukee. Then Tea and Heidi talk weird news about J.R.R. Tolkien, Predator vs Children of the Corn, “de-extinction” of the Tasmanian Tiger, a Jesus Christ simulator game, and QAnon’s latest cancer-curing contraption. Plus trivia and a closing track by The Unitaskers, “Philodendron.”
Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep08: Talkin’ Twisted Dreams (podbean.com)
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My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Week: Alex Jones in His Own Hell

I first began to learn about Alex Jones in 2010. Through an odd twist of events, I was introduced to a man named Richard McCaslin, a conspiracy theorist who attempted to raid a club for the rich and powerful in the redwood forest of California called the Bohemian Grove. Richard was the Patient Zero of someone who listened to Jones and took his bloviating seriously. On Jan. 20, 2002, he was arrested in the Bohemian Grove, wearing a superhero costume with a rubber skull mask and heavily armed.

100% of Richard’s decision to go on his raid was from watching a “documentary” Jones had produced called Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove, which suggested human sacrifice– maybe even children– was happening inside the Grove. It followed the Jones Method– a pinch of truth, a lot of speculation, some far-fetched interpretation, and a scary Satanic, baby-killing, New World Order cabal of those in power. I detailed Richard’s spiral down the rabbit hole and Jones’s influence over him in my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked America’s Consciousness. Richard died by suicide in 2018. I believe conspiracy theory is what pushed him over the edge, and the first domino was Alex Jones.

Two things repeated after Richard’s raid– first, Alex Jones and Info Wars would pop up regularly like a bad penny as a motivator in other cases of extremist violence.

To mention just a few: Byron Williams, who had a shootout with California Highway Patrol on I-580 in 2010 and was an avid listener of Jones. He  was on his way to shoot up the offices of organizations associated with conspiracy boogeyman George Soros.

In 2011 Oscar Ortega-Hernandez did a drive-by shooting of the White House. He was influenced by the Jones directed “documentary” The Obama Deception.

Starting the year after that, there was a league of Info Wars followers who harassed and sent death threats to Sandy Hook survivors online, by phone, on the street and at their homes as Jones promoted theories that they were “crisis actors.” That’s how a total of $49.3 million was awarded to Sandy Hook parents this week. And that’s just the beginning. 

He also promoted Pizzagate conspiracy, which led to a raid of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria by Edgar Maddison Welch, armed with an AR-15, in 2016. Like Richard McCaslin, Welch was hoping to save human trafficking victims after watching the Pizzagate theory he saw laid out in an Info Wars video.

The second thing that repeated is Jones’s pattern of attempting to weasel out of responsibility every time he incited someone. It started with McCaslin– when asked to comment on his case, Jones said he thought McCaslin “sounded insane,” yet Dark Secrets not only gave McCaslin a clear motivation, but Jones stands outside the Grove at the end of the doc to tell people driving instructions to get there. And on January 6 (he was there as an organizer) he riled the mob up with his bullhorn, but when the shit hit the fan and people started beating cops to death– you guessed it, he tucked tail and ran.

And now, after years of dodging the court for the many cases surrounding his lawsuits from the Sandy Hook families, Jones is finally cornered. What a circus this week has been! Jones is in his own personal hell– trapped in a courtroom confronted with the truth and little chance to bloviate and spin it like he can on his rambling, 4-hour long daily radio show. He actually has to shut up and listen and his words here have real consequences.

The wildest revelation came this week when the attorneys for Sandy Hook parents Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis revealed that Jones’s defense had mistakenly sent two years of data off his phone, and that this clearly pointed out that Jones is guilty of multiple counts of perjury. Jones tried to file for a mistrial. The judge said “nah.” Now the January 6 Committee is attempting to get access to that data to see how big his role exactly was in the J6 Q d’etat.

The jury awarded the victims $4.1 million, and then an additional $45.2 million in punitive damages.

That’s a good start, but not enough. A billion dollars isn’t enough.

Here’s what I hope. I hope there’s a string of trials that goes on the rest of his life, where he gets sued over and over– 4 million here, 40 million there– by everyone he’s ever slandered and that he slowly loses all of his ill-gotten money. I hope he has to sit there and hear every one of of his victims give testimony about how he stoked his fanbase to terrorize them, and all the terrible things he’s caused.

I hope it’s long and excruciating- but sadly it’ll never, ever be as painful as what those families and other Jones victims had to go through. 

My book American Madness can be found here: American Madness : Feral House

I skipped this column a couple weeks (too busy) so let me plug our last two TWW podcast episodes:
In S5E6 I talked to Milwaukee author, musician and art witch Molly Roberts, author of the new book Art Magick: How to Become an Art Witch and Unlock Your Creative Power plus weird news, trivia, and a track from Molly’s band Tigernite, “Witch”: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep 06: Art Magick with Molly Roberts (podbean.com)

In S5E7 I interviewed Chris Drosner, one of my editors at Milwaukee Magazine and author of the “Beer Baron” column, weird news, trivia, and “League Play, a new track by Rum Revere: Tea’s Weird Week, S5ep07: Weird Beers (podbean.com)

They’re also available on these platforms: Spotify//Soundcloud//Google Podcasts//iHeartRadio//PlayerFM//Apple//Stitcher//Pocket Casts

Tea’s Weird Week: Amberrose Hammond’s New Book Explores Mysterious Michigan

This week on the Tea’s Weird Week podcast, I talked with Michigan researcher and author Amberrose Hammond. As discussed in last week’s TWW column/podcast, I’m co-authoring a project with my friend, travel writer Jenny Sanchez called Paranormal Road Trip. As such, I’m checking out work by authors who have written about local paranormal hot spots you can visit to find out what legendary places need to be included in our guide.

Amberrose is author of Ghosts and Legends of Michigan’s West Coast, Wicked Grand Rapids, and she has a new book coming out titled Mysterious Michigan: The Lonely Ghost of Minnie Quay, the Marvelous Manifestations of Farmer Riley, the Devil in Detroit More. It’s release date is August 29 from the History Press (the same publisher of my book Wisconsin Legends & Lore).

I had a great time talking with Amberrose about some haunted locations as well as lore like Detroit’s legend of the Nain Rouge, a devilish imp and omen of disaster, and the urban legend of the Melonheads (which was probably perpetuated by one of Amberrose’s mischievous friends).

If you’re a legend tripping crossing through Michigan or just a fan of storytelling, I recommend checking out Amberrose’s work. You can find a link to the TWW episode below, and be sure to check out Amberrose’s website, which has a pre-order link to her new book: Home | Amberrose Hammond

She also co-hosts the Ghostly Talk podcast, also recommended, which you can find here: Ghostly Talk Radio

Tea’s Weird Week S5, ep05: Amberrose Hammond’s Mysterious Michigan
Tea talks to Amberrose Hammond about her upcoming book, Mysterious Michigan. Tea and Heidi discuss weird news about Ukranian mutant super soldiers and more, trivia and a track from Sunspot’s new album, The Strangest Frequency, “We’ll Be Seeing You Again.”

Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep05: Amberrose Hammond’s Mysterious Michigan (podbean.com)
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Tea’s Weird Week: Introducing Paranormal Road Trip

I currently have around 3 books in the development process. I’ll tell you about one of them, cause it’s movin’ along: Paranormal Road Trip, which will be a fun travel guide to haunted locations you can visit, monster museums, and other eerie attractions across the country. This is rare in that this is the first book I am co-authoring with someone else. Jenny Sanchez is a wonderful travel writer from Denver. She works in the travel industry, has her own travel blog/platform (Long Days Travel) and contributes to Atlas Obscura. We met when she visited Milwaukee and we hit it off.

Paranormal Road Trip authors Jenny Sanchez and Tea Krulos at Milwaukee’s famously haunted Pfister Hotel.

We’ve been working on this project for a little bit, so far compiling entries onto shared Google docs, meeting up on Zoom to talk once in awhile. It’s a big project, but we’re working at a slow but steady pace, looking up entries to get all the information, insider tips, and of course the spooky stuff. Jenny’s been working on some Mountain and West Coast states, I’ve been focusing on the Midwest and New England.

It’s a fun project. We’ve got a book proposal, so wish us luck in landing this with the right publisher, so we can get this guide into your hands! We’ll keep you posted.

Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep04: Paranormal Road Trip
I talk with Jenny about her travels this year to Idaho and Saint Louis to visit paranormal hotspots and quirky attractions. Then me and Heidi talk about a flurry of squatchy news– Coyote Peterson finds an alleged sasquatch skull, Oklahoma man says he murdered his Bigfoot controlling fishing partner, a classic Wisconsin sighting and more. Plus trivia and we close out with a track from Pretty Frankenstein, “In Mirrors.”

Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep04: Paranormal Road Trip (and Bigfoot news) (podbean.com)
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Tea’s Weird Week: My Favorite Jann Goldberg Quotes

I’m sad to say I lost another friend this year. It’s been a rough one for losing creative, wonderful people. I met Jann Goldberg right at the beginning of working on my second book, Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators (2015, Chicago Review Press). I was looking for a local ghost investigation team to follow around and found the Paranormal Investigators of Milwaukee (PIM). I liked everyone I met in that group, but I especially hit it off with Jann. She was really into nerd culture and she was hilarious– easily could have pursued a career in stand up.

I was especially amused by how by how crass and vulgar her humor was. She reminded me of my beloved co-worker Mo ( I wrote about her in my Brady Street Pharmacy book) who made swearing an artform. As such, Jann had some of the most colorful quotes in Monster Hunters. Here’s my favorites.

L-R: Razorhawk, Tea Krulos, Jann Goldberg. Photo by Wendy Schreier Photography.

On her language:

“My sister used to work with me and they used to call us the sailor sisters because of our filthy mouths and shit, but I mean that’s just how we were raised. My mom says ‘God I hate it when people don’t know how to fucking swear,’” she told me, laughing.

Although her feelings on her team later changed, I remember thinking how great this quote was, about being part of a team:

“It’s like a fifteen-hour-a-week job you pay for instead of get money,” Jann told me, letting out a short laugh. “This isn’t a paying job. You travel together, sleep on hotel floors together, you’re eating in crappy restaurants, investigating bat-infested, rat-infested shitholes. In the middle of the night you’re looped up, buzzed on caffeine, talking about your marriage and your kids and all this shit. Honestly, with the exception of my parents and husband, I’m tighter with these guys than anyone else in my family. It’s just…really a different thing.”

This quote was about the trouble the team had when talking to people whose homes had been visited by other investigation teams that would tell them they probably had a case of demons:

“If you’re a group like ours that goes into a place after these groups that have already been there and told all this bullshit and you have a family that’s scared– there was some group that told a family they had a portal to hell in their house—that is shit you have to deal with. And I mean, shame on them for believing it, but you don’t know what someone’s mental condition and for them to go in and say this, it’s like what are you doing?!”

On one of her teammates not being familiar with Yom Kippur:

“Jesus Christ. Haven’t you seen Fiddler on the fucking Roof?” she retorted. “Anti-Semitic, misogynist assholes,” Jann huffed, turning to me. “Be sure to write that down and quote me on it in the book.”

On me joining PIM on one of their investigations of the notoriously haunted Bobby Mackey’s Music World:

“Investigating Bobby Mackey’s this early in your paranormal career is like losing your virginity to Jenna Jameson,” Jann told me shortly before I headed toward Wilder, Kentucky.

When I wrote the epilog to the book, I revisited several people I had written about. But who to give last word to? I decided it had to be Jann. I wrote about her then recent return to Bobby Mackey’s (with a different group) and ended the book with this:

“It was fun this time. That weird thing only happened with my stomach once,” Jann told me. But why would she return again and again to a place where she had such frightening experiences? That was an easy question, she told me.

“To find some fucking answers.”

Tea’s Weird Week S5 ep03: Butterfly Sanctuary Conspiracy Attack

This episode has a short audio clip from one of my interviews with Jann, plus I talked to Eric and Kim Hayden, producers of the American Madness documentary adaptation about their recent trip to shoot interviews at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Who would be insane enough to come up with a theory that this beautiful sanctuary is really a front for drug and child sex trafficking? Oh right, QAnon.

Plus me and my co-host Heidi Erickson talk about the Georgia Guidestones (I’ll also have a column on that next week) and the CERN Large Hadron Collider and the Mandela Effect. There’s also trivia from Miss Information and a banger from Mini Meltdowns, “Super Blue.”
Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep03: Butterfly Sanctuary Conspiracy Attack (podbean.com)
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Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Week: Talking with Sinisterhood

As a freelance writer, I’ve worked with several Milwaukee-based publications over the years. Most of the feature writing I do these days is for Milwaukee Magazine— I’ve written something for almost issue this year. I also contribute to the Shepherd Express. Most of the work I do for the Shep currently is event previews. If I see an event or if they cross paths with something in my wheelhouse, I give it a short write-up.

I’m really glad they sent me a press release for the Sinisterhood podcast tour with a stop in Milwaukee (tonight) cause they definitely talk about some of my favorite things: true crime, cults, and the paranormal. The show is hosted by Dallas-based comedians and friends Christie Wallace and Heather McKinney and they are currently on tour, including a stop here in Milwaukee tonight.

I did an interview with Christie and Heather for the Shepherd write-up and also featured the audio in this week’s TWW episode. We talked about their inspirations, weird Dallas, and the famously haunted Pfister Hotel (which they’ll be discussing live tonight).

Sinisterhood is definitely on my listening list now. If you dig Tea’s Weird Week I think you’ll really enjoy the show, too. Check it out at: www.sinisterhood.com

SEE ALSO: I wrote this 2018 article on the Pfister ghosts for Milwaukee Record: “If the ghost shows again, we are all going to fight together”: The Pfister Hotel All-Star Ghost Team (milwaukeerecord.com)

Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep02: Talking with Sinisterhood
In addition to talking with Sinisterhood, me and Heidi discuss weird news like a human tasting burger, CIA cafeteria woes, bird vomit, and more. Plus trivia and the dance track of the summer, “Juice Demon” by Lavish Waste. Listen here: Tea’s Weird Week, S5 ep02: Talking with Sinisterhood (podbean.com)
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Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Week: The TWW podcast is back on for Season 5!

I took a break from this column for the last two weeks– call it a summer break, I guess, I had other stuff to work on. But I’m back on track now and the Tea’s Weird Week podcast is also back for season 5. I’m so glad! Last month I got to see the full podcast crew– my co-host Heidi Erickson, sound engineer Andrew (FlatlineAudio138), and trivia master Miss Information at the Oddities & Curiosities Expo.

Fun times– you know we’re happy when we get to check out about of weird shit.

Some of the guests we’ve got scheduled for this season: Christie Wallace and Heather McKinney of the Sinisterhood podcast (they’re doing a live show in Milwaukee July 1!), John Borowski (Serial Killer Culture), Eric and Kim Hayden (American Madness doc), Jenny Sanchez (“Long Days Travel“), Chris Drosner (executive editor at Milwaukee Magazine and “Beer Baron” columnist), and Christopher House (Twisted Dreams Film Fest). I’m glad to say the last four people on that list are collaborating with me on projects– articles, a book, documentaries. That type of stuff.

This season we’re also hoping to get out of the studio and visit some local weird hot spots, plus we’ll have some fun music guests and you can win prize packs by participating in our weekly trivia question.

Our first episode for this season is live now. No special guest for this one– I talk about some of the columns I’ve written during our podcast break, then me and Heidi dive into the mass of weird news: horny Swedish garbage cans, Sarah Palin vs Santa Claus, the Amarillo Dogman, Polish LARPers, and sentient AI, plus trivia and a new track from our sound engineer FlatlineAudio138, “Alien Overdose.”

You can listen here: Tea’s Weird Week S5 ep01: The Wise Owl and the Monster in Human Skin (an AI fable) (podbean.com)
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Thanks for tuning in!

Podcast art by Tim Demeter

Follow me on: Substack//Facebook Group//Twitter//Instagram

My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)

Tea’s Weird Week: Who Said It–Phantom Patriot or Marjorie Taylor Greene?

My book American Madness (2020, Feral House) tells the story of Richard McCaslin, who, inspired by conspiracy peddler Alex Jones, bought an arsenal of weapons, created a costumed persona– the Phantom Patriot (complete with a skull mask) raided a place called the Bohemian Grove in 2002, had a standoff with the cops, and went to jail. He died by suicide in 2018.

Sound crazy? Sure. But is it more so than supporting the armed Q d’etat of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in which 5 people died? That’s what Marjorie Taylor Greene (MTG), who represents Georgia in the House of Representatives, has done.

That’s my point of this column– when I originally met Richard in 2010, I thought he was the fringest of the fringe. Now, in the Trump era, I think he was somehow ahead of the curve, the zeitgeist. He was conspiracy hip before it was hip to be hip. Could Richard have been elected to Congress? In 2010 I would have laughed at that idea, but these days I think he’d be a shoo-in if he found the right district. Hey, MTG did it (and it looks likely she’ll win reelection this year).

Richard and MTG have some pretty big differences– Richard always despised Trump, for example, and he was suspicious of QAnon (the cult where MTG got her first boost). I think he was a true believer that wanted to help people by exposing the “Deep State,” while MTG is just a hatemonger. But still, they have similar ideas– they believe 9/11 conspiracy and hate Hillary. I don’t know if Richard would go for the Jewish space laser thing– probably. They’re so similar, that I thought I’d show you six quotes. Who said what? Answers are below.

One) “Bill Gates wants you to eat this fake meat that grows in a [petri dish] so you’ll probably get a little zap inside your body that’ll say ‘No, don’t eat a real cheeseburger, you need to eat the fake burger.’”

Two) “The Illuminati controlled CDC lies to the American public, 24/7. Just look at all the money being made on these shots right now… the microchips will definitely be in those shots. Anyone who refuses to get vaccinated will be ‘quarantined’ indefinitely in a FEMA residential center, a concentration camp.”

Three) “As far as our so-called ‘elected’ officials in Washington DC and California are concerned, the Luciferian Doctrine dictates their motives and actions, not the Constitution!”

Four) On the 2017 Mandalay Bay mass shooting in Las Vegas: “How do you get avid gun owners and people that support the Second Amendment to give up their guns and go along with anti-gun legislation? You make them scared, you make them victims and you change their mindset and then possibly you can pass anti-gun legislation. Is that what happened in Las Vegas? I don’t believe [mass shooter Stephen Paddock] pulled this off all by himself.”

Five) On the same 2017 shooting: “Most of the photos taken inside the hotel room look staged; especially the one supposedly showing Stephen Paddock dead on the floor…Paddock was/is obviously a Project Monarch patsy, who was used by the CIA, to get those 13 suitcases of guns and ammo up to the hotel room. Paddock was a high roller in Vegas, so nobody would question the excessive luggage. The motive for the massacre is simple…more gun restrictions, to effectively disarm the American people.”

Six) “Probably, in about four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore. Everyone will be gay or trans or non-conforming or whatever list of 50 or 60 options, which there are.”


ANSWERS!

One. This is a MJT quote from this week and the inspiration for this column. She said this on her “MTG Live” social media show, though in her exact quote she called it a “peach tree dish,” similarly to her botched attempt to call out “Nancy Pelosi’s gazpacho.” Marjorie Taylor Greene warns of meat grown in a ‘peach tree dish’ while peddling Bill Gates conspiracy (yahoo.com)

Two. Letter to me from Richard, dated Oct. 25, 2010. He was talking about H1N1 and Swine Flu, but mentions there will be a pandemic with mandatory vaccines, an eerie prediction of COVID-19, which he didn’t live to see. He didn’t mention Bill Gates in this, but he did tell me he believed Gates vaccine charity programs in Africa were an attempt at microchipping and/ or genocide for population control.

Three. Letter to me from Richard, dated Dec. 23, 2010. It does sound like a variation on QAnon’s popular “Democrat/elite Satanic baby eating pedophile cabal.”

Four: That’s MJT in a video she posted 4 days after the shooting, on Oct. 5, 2017: (129) Marjorie Taylor Greene video – YouTube

Five: Email to me from Richard, Oct. 6, 2017, the day after MTG posted her video! As you can see, Richard and MJT’s “mass shooter hoax/ false flag” theories were very similar. This is one conspiracy I WISH had a grain of truth to it. When? When will the Deep State take all the guns? For that matter, when will they pass a piece of legislature that will put any sort of reasonable limit on gun purchase whatsoever? I’ve been hearing Obama or someone is “taking the guns” for a solid 14 years now. C’mon, Deep State– do it!

Six: Haaaa, I hope so! Better than a generation of stupid hateful bigots like MTG, who said this. I never heard Richard spout off homophobic shit. And at least he had a cool costume. Marjorie Taylor Greene says straight people will soon be extinct / LGBTQ Nation

Please Clap Dept.: I wrote a feature focusing on commercial fisherman Ken Koyen titled “The Last Fisherman of Washington Island,” for the June issue of Milwaukee Magazine. You can read it here: www.milwaukeemag.com/meet-the-last-fisherman-of-washington-island

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My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)