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Tea’s Weird Week: Conspiracy Theory Trainwreck

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Yesterday, a man named Eduardo Moreno, a locomotive engineer from San Pedro, drove a train at full speed toward the Port of Los Angeles. He was holding a safety flare in the train’s cab as the train burst through a series of barriers. Moreno was hoping for an action movie like stunt where the train would jump the rails at the end of the track and fly through the air and crash into the nearby docked USNS Mercy hospital ship, which had recently arrived to help with hospital overflow from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Scene of the trainwreck.

The train skidded out in a gravel lot, about 250 yards from the ship. No one was injured, though there was a “substantial amount of fuel oil” that needed to be cleaned up. Moreno was immediately arrested and charged with “train-wrecking,” which has a sentence of up to 20 years.

Moreno told authorities his goal was to “wake people up,” and said “you only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.” It’s not known yet exactly what Moreno was hoping to wake people up to, other than he believed the Mercy was part of a plot for a “government takeover.” Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 are thick and heavy and often revolve around the virus being a bio-weapon or a hoax, designed to implement a Deep State coup followed by martial law.

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The Mercy in the Port of Los Angeles

This story is familiar to me. I have a new book coming out in August titled American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (Feral House). American Madness tells the story of a man named Richard McCaslin, who styled himself as a conspiracy commando and called himself the Phantom Patriot. Heavily influenced by Alex Jones (of InfoWars), Richard raided a secret society retreat called the Bohemian Grove in 2002, where he was arrested. He was hoping to “wake people up” to the alleged human sacrifices going on there. My book tells his story, but it also follows a pattern. Richard was the first one who took drastic action after listening to the words of Alex Jones (and others of his ilk) but not the last.

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Richard McCaslin in his Phantom Patriot costume.

Some other conspiracy theorists who have snapped include Byron Williams, aka the I-580 Shooter, who had a shoot out with the California Highway Patrol after he was pulled over on his way to shoot up charities associated with liberal boogeyman George Soros in 2010. Oscar Ortega pulled up to the White House in 2011 and fired shots at it after seeing an Alex Jones documentary titled The Obama Deception. Jared and Amanda Miller, InfoWars fans, killed three people and themselves in a Las Vegas shooting spree.

In 2016, Edgar Maddison Welch, armed himself and raided a Washington DC pizzeria named Comet Ping Pong. Like McCaslin and Moreno, Welch was hoping to “wake people up” to a Democrats child sex trafficking ring being run out of the restaurant’s basement. That same year, two Georgia men named Michael Mancil and James Dryden Jr. were arrested in a plot to drive to Alaska and sabotage the HAARP facility, based on a conspiracy that says it’s a government brainwashing facility.

Was Moreno inspired to drive his crazy train by Alex Jones? We don’t know yet. But I doubt he came up with this theory out of the blue. Someone put the idea in his ear and I don’t think it was Rachel Maddow or Anderson Cooper. Like a bad penny, InfoWars is the one who usually shows up in these cases.

Source: “Man charged with intentionally derailing train near hospital ship Mercy over coronavirus concerns,” Los Angeles Times

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back


Oh yeah, and don’t forget that our president is a conspiracy theorist! This week’s #TrumpConspiracyCounter 2020 (now at 177 clicks) column talks about Trump’s theory that there is a face mask black market. Read it here:
https://teakrulos.com/2020/04/01/trumpconspiracycounter-april-1/


This Saturday have some social distancing quarantine fun and play Tea’s Weird Week Trivia! You can win copies of my book, books from my library, and goofy fun prizes like bigfoot socks, shark hologram bookmarks, and more. It’s at 5pm central via Facebook Live video: www.facebook.com/theTeaKrulos 

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#TrumpConspiracyCounter: April 1

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Unfortunately, none of the contents of today’s #TrumpConspiracyCounter are an April Fool’s Day joke. In the time of a deadly pandemic, ask yourself– do you want someone who believes, promotes, and incites conspiracy theories and gross misinformation as your leader? Trump brags that his daily coronavirus press conferences are a “ratings hit.” But is his bloviating against the “lamestream media” often dumps practical information for a “hunch” or “theory.”

Meanwhile, conspiracy continues to spread like a brush fire. Conspiracy theorists at first speculated coronavirus was a bioweapon developed by Bill Gates before settling into the idea that the virus is a hoax. The latest theory is that Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force is a Deep State “Democrat plant” being used to discredit Trump. They’ve nicknamed him “Dr.#FearPorn.”
Source: “Right Wing Influencers Are Convinced Dr. Anthony Fauci is Working WIth Hillary Clinton to Undermine Trump,” Buzzfeed News

To be honest, I’ve not been staying on top of the conspiracy counter with everything else going on. But here’s some noteworthy recent hits:

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175. March 29: At a press conference, Trump floats his theory that face masks are being sold on a black market and that’s why a huge jump in demand has happened rather than the obvious cause of a rapidly escalating pandemic:
“How do you go from 10-to-20-to-300,000…even though this is different. Something’s going on…Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?” And at the same press conference: “I don’t think it’s hoarding, I think it’s maybe worse than hoarding, but check it out. Check it out. I don’t know, I don’t know. I think that’s for other people to figure out.”

Source: “Trump Comments About Hospital Mask Thefts Spark Backlash From Doctors,” Newsweek

176. March 31: Bongino! Trump retweets conspiracy monger Dan Bongino.

177. March 31: Retweets Charlie Kirk of Turning Point America.

That’s all I got for this report. #TrumpConspiracyCounter will return in two weeks.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

Tea’s Weird Week Trivia: Round 1

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I had a fun first round of Tea’s Weird Week Trivia this last Saturday. Congrats to Sharon who was the overall winner and Estephanie who won the Cursed Objects round and picked out a category for this week– “Famous Missing Persons Cases.” Other rounds will include the man vs animal “Animal King, Dumb,” classic “UFO Files,” and stories about “Xtreme Social Distancing.” Prizes will include books (authored by myself and others) and other weird swag. This Saturday, 5pm (central), on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/theTeaKrulos 

Here’s the questions from last week if you didn’t get a chance to play. You can get a feel for the trivia and host your own trivia session with your roommate.  Answer key is way at the bottom of the post. For this week, I am encouraging that trivia players send donations/ shop at the International Cryptozoology Museum: www.cryptozoologymuseum.com

Special thanks to American Ghost Walks to providing tickets for a prize!

(You can see the video of the trivia session and see how people did here: https://www.facebook.com/theTeaKrulos/videos/511195046147212/)

Cryptozoology

1.) In the late 80s/ early 90s there were several sightings in Bishopville, South Carolina of a cryptid commonly called:

A. the Bishopville Dogma
B. the Bishopville Lizardman
C. the Bishopville Octopusman
D. the Bishopville Birdman

2.) A classic examination of cryptids is the 1970 book Strange Creatures Out of Time and Space. Who was the author?

3.) Where is the International Cryptozoology Museum located? City and state. 

4.) This Australian animal was thought to have gone extinct after the last one died in captivity at the Hobart Zoo in 1936, however cryptozoologists believe it might still be alive. You can give the scientific or common name.

5). One of the big cryptozoology stories this month are pictures circulating that purportedly show a Sasquatch peeking into a couple’s mobile home. Scott Yeoman reports that the couple smelled something he described as a mix of “rotting animal flesh, vomit and excrement” before spotting the cryptid and snapping photos of it. Which state did this happen in? Picture in comments.
A. Colorado
B. Idaho
C. Washington
D. Wyoming

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Conspiracy Theories in the News

1.) In a Tea’s Weird Week column last month, I reported that at least 24 people had launched 2020 campaigns for Congress that follow what conspiracy belief?

A. That Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer
B. QAnon
C. Flat Earth Theory
D. 9/11 Truthers

BONUS: Which two states have the most candidates? 

2.) Alex Jones of InfoWars was issued a cease and desist by the New York attorney general for trying to sell what product he claimed would “kill the entire SARS-corona family at point blank range.” when used. Was it: 

A. A hand cream
B. Toilet paper
C. Toothpaste
D. Condoms

3.) Pour one out for “Mad Mike” Hughes, a daredevil who died when he bailed out of his homemade rocket and his parachute malfunctioned on Feb.22 outside of Barstow. What conspiracy message was written on the side of his rocket?

A. Epstein didn’t kill himself
B. Birds don’t exist
C. Trump is a Reptilian
D. Research Flat Earth

4.) Last month Trump retweeted a publication that was founded by a Chinese American spiritual movement called the Falun Gong. The publication has endorsed QAnon and other conspiracies and through sockpuppet accounts spent over 9 million dollars on pro-Trump ads. What is the name of the publication?

5.) During a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans last month a float depicted Jeffrey Epstein being strangled by what politician?

Cursed and Possessed Items

1.) Murder, car accidents, gangrene, drug overdoses, and house fires, are just a few of the stories associated with this gem that is currenly on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of National History.


2.) This Raggedy Ann doll is supposedly possessed and was kept in a glass case by demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. There’s a recent movie series based on the doll. What’s the name of the doll?


3.) The Curse of the Chicago Cubs supposedly was set in place in 1945 after a tavern owner was kicked out of Wrigley Field with his smelly pet. What type of animal was it?

A. An alligator
B. A skunk
C. A billy goat
D. A pig

4. A mass produced painting popular across England in the 1980s was said to be cursed. Supposedly a series of  house fires left only the paintings behind. What did the painting feature?

A. A crying boy
B. A girl playing the violin
C. A child peeking out from a red door
D. A 3 toed sloth hang gliding with a portrait of Lee Harvey Oswald in its claws

5. Zak Bagans Haunted Museum in Las Vegas allegedly has a haunted or cursed mirror that belonged to which horror icon?

A. Stephen King
B. Edgar Allan Poe
C. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
D. Vincent Price
E. Bela Lugosi

Epic Social Distancing Champions of History

1.) This actress known as the “Swedish Sphinx” who once said in a movie “I vant to be alone” retired in 1941 at age 36. She refused to do autographs, interviews, award shows, or fan mail and lived alone in Manhattan. 

2.) In the 1970s this musician mostly stayed at home in bed getting high and recording music known as the “Bedroom Tapes.” Though he would sometimes be spotted at night at LA clubs in his robe and slippers. 

3.) This writer had a famous novel published in 1951. After his last story was published in 1965 in the New Yorker the already reclusive author secluded himself in a cottage in New Hampshire. 

4.) After forfeiting his world champion title in 1975, this chess player became reclusive, disappearing from the public for long periods of time until he died in 2008 in Iceland. 

5.) Tristan da Cunha most remote populated place in the world, over 1300 miles from their nearest populated neighbor, located between south america and africa. A mail ship stops by only once a year.  2019 estimated population was: 

A. 99
B. 3
C. 246
D. 500

Answers below!

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

 

ANSWERS (click on highlighted answers to see more!)

Cryptozoology: 1. B. Bishopville Lizardman 2. John Keel 3. Portland, Maine 4. Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger 5. A. Colorado

Conspiracy Theories in the News: 1. B.QAnon, BONUS: California and Florida 2. C. Toothpaste 3. D. Research Flat Earth 4. The Epoch Times 5. Hillary Clinton

Cursed or Possessed Items: 1. the Hope Diamond 2. Annabelle 3. C. billy goat 4. A. a crying boy 5. E. Bela Lugosi

Epic Social Distancing Champions of History: 1. Greta Garbo 2. Brian Wilson 3. J.D. Salinger 4. Bobby Fischer 5. C. 246

Tea’s Weird Week: Notes from the Quarantine Journal

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I tried to do a Tea’s Weird Week livestream. It started alright, I talked about my book Apocalypse Any Day Now, but then I was hit with this wave of doubt and angst– who am I to give any kind of advice? and I struggled to say anything other than “gee I sure hope you are all ok out there.” The only thing helpful I think I offered was talking about my quarantine journal or, as I’ve crudely titled it, my “Plague Diary.” It’s been helpful for me and it might be helpful for you.

I found an old notebook and every day I’ve been handwriting some notes. I’ve not been overthinking it– emotions, observations, weird dreams, what I’m reading, watching, doing. I chose to handwrite it because I like the organic look of it– crossed out words, doodles in the corners of the pages. When you have to handwrite instead of letting words fly on a keyboard, you’re choosing more deliberately what you share. It’s also cathartic to scratch out some words pen to paper. But you might journal better on a blog or word doc.

If writing isn’t a way you express yourself, I hope you’re channeling some energy into something you like– music, art, organizing. I know it’s difficult to be creative under financial and other stresses, but try to turn off the news, get off social media, and try to do something that stimulates creation a little bit every day.

I’m not going to share the whole thing, but here’s some excerpts from the first 10 days of my journal.

Friday, March 13 (first entry): National emergency declared. Everything is closing down now, RE: coronavirus, COVID-19. The plague is upon us. Worse than the illness is how people will react– they are panicked, scared. Hyper masses have flooded every store, grabbing as much toliet paper, hand sanitizer, and water bottles as they can carry, leaving the store shelves empty.

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Sunday, March 15: Just drank and watched TV.

Monday, March 16: I had a vivid dream last night. My granddad was still alive and I went to visit him. He had a group of elderly friends sitting around his kitchen table (where he always sat) with him. They were having a quarantine party. I had never seen any of the other seniors before. One of them, sitting next to grandpa, was a frail woman with an oxygen tank. Grandpa, usually a big, jolly guy, looked very thin. All of them were happy to see me. Grandpa asked if I wanted to sing “Folsom Prison Blues” with them. I said “sure!” and we all sang. That’s all I remember.

Tuesday, March 17: St. Patrick’s Day– one of the biggest day for bars– and everything is shut down. I pitched and wrote an article for the Shepherd “How local businesses are weathering COVID-19 and ways you can help” but there’s a feeling of hopelessness– this article won’t help anyone one iota, but I need to do something and this is all I can think of at the moment.

Thursday, March 19: Crabby, irritated, sad, frustrated today. Not accomplishing shit. Being lazy in pajamas makes me feel shitty but so does doing anything like household chores. Face it– you lost today.

Saturday, March 21: Well, all of this has made a supply run exciting. Me and Kate cruised to Home Depot, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Target (see above photo of the empty toilet paper aisle), and the liquor store. Now eating tons of food.

Monday, March 23: Gov. Evers is issuing a “Safer at Home” edict telling everyone not involved in “non-essential” business-like groceries, pharmacies, etc., to keep their ass at home. We’re all locked down now to slow the spread of COVID-19. I took a walk to Outpost to look for toilet paper and get a couple things for Kate, but they were out of TP and the bulk section was closed off, so I left empty-handed and felt like a failed hunter-gatherer. But we are ok on food, TP, and sanity right now…

I’m going to try the livestream thing again with some trivia this Saturday. The categories are cryptozoology, conspiracy theories in the news (based on reports from Tea’s Weird Week over the last two months), cursed or possessed items, and a surprise category. Prizes will include copies of my books and other weird stuff I find in my office. 

Tune in here: www.facebook.com/TheTeaKrulos

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The #TrumpConspiracyCounter shoots up to 174. I tally it and talk about Trump’s “Deep State Department” theory here: https://teakrulos.com/2020/03/25/trumpconspiracycounter-march-25/

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

#TrumpConspiracyCounter: March 25

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#Trumpconspiracycounter2020 (8)I’m still keeping the #TrumpConspiracyCounter rolling. I think it’s important to document. I’ve talked in counter updates before about how Trump’s day-to-day language is steeped in conspiracy theory– “fake news,” “witch hunt,” and “Deep State” being common ones (too common for tallying). The latest– Trump’s move to call coronavirus/ COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” even in a wave of racist attacks against Asians.

After dismissing the virus as being insignificant and pandemic fears as a “hoax,” Trump has tried to turn his act around to be more presidential. But a leopard has trouble changing his spots. Trump can’t resist his manic tweetstorms, blasting out an echo chamber of voices that reinforce him and these often include the far-right Christian conservatives, Alt-Right, and of course, conspiracy mongers. In the midst of this terrible time, when people are afraid of an emergency pandemic and their livelyhood, it’s truly disturbing to know that the President is promoting these conspiracists on almost a daily basis.

138.) March 12: Tweet: “Many Republican Senators want me to Veto the FISA Bill until we find out what led to, and happened with, the illegal attempted “coup” of the duly elected President of the United States, and others!”

139-147.) March 15-16: Tweetstorm! Clicks for retweeting Tom Fitton/Judicial Watch (2) former InfoWars and FOX regular Dan Bongino (1) and Mark Levin of Glenn Back’s network TheBlaze (6).

148.) March 20: During a contentious press conference talking about coronavirus, Trump refers to: “the State Department or as they like to call them the Deep State Department.” We include each mention (that we catch) of the “Deep State” as it’s conspiracy theory language and a stupid and reckless way to address his perceived enemies.

149-174.) March 22-25: TWEET TRAIN! Trump binges long strings of tweets including:  Tom Fitton (2) sex therapist and QAnon believer Dawn Michael (1) Lori Hendry (1) Donnie Trump Jr.’s link to Breitbart (1) Tomi Lahren (1) thebradfordfile(4) Breitbart News (7) Greg Jarrett (author of The Russian Hoax and The Witch Hunt) (7) Tom Fitton retweeted by James Woods retweeted by Trump (1) Charlie Kirk (1)

The #TrumpConspiracyCounter is on twitter: https://twitter.com/TrumpConspirac3

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

Book Giveaway!

Hey there, I hope your COVID-19 quarantine is going as good as it can be. Hang in there. I’ve been trying to catch up on some reading and I’m sure many of you have extra reading time, too, so I’m giving away two copies each of my books Apocalypse Any Day Now and Heroes in the Night. I think both books are as relevant now as ever as we try to navigate through this frightening, weird time.

To win a copy, share this post and then leave a comment on this post (here on the website or my social media posts, see links below) telling us all how you’re passing time during the quarantine or any experiences or observations you want to share. I’ll be entering all names into a drawing to select the four winners. Contest open til Monday, March 23, noon (CST).

Thanks and be well!

Yours Truly,

Tea Krulos

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Links to my books (click title):

Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review

“Tea Krulos is one of the best chroniclers out there of the total craziness of our world today, and he does not disappoint in this book. He has a wickedly keen eye for high strangeness and a great voice to bring it to light. Well worth your time.” — Mitch Smith, Goodreads/Amazon review

Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement 

Heroes in the Night is a deftly written, entertaining book that sheds light on the strange but timely, understandable and relevant subculture that is the RLSH movement.”– Pop Mythology

Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators

“Tea Krulos’s Monster Hunters is not your average ‘seen-it-all-before’ study of Sasquatch, aliens, and creepy critters. It’s an eye-opening, witty, and insightful look at the people who have dedicated their lives to solving some of the world’s biggest mysteries. In many ways, the characters Krulos crosses paths with are as unique and fascinating as the ‘things’ they seek!” —Nick Redfern, author of Monster Diary and Monster Files

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram

 

Tea’s Weird Week: Notes From the Quarantine, Part 1

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What a time– I hope everyone is doing ok and hanging in there. A majority of my friends are artists, musicians, writers, teachers, small business owners, service industry workers or some combination thereof– all hit hard by the COVID-19 quarantine that has shut down daily life as we know it. People are stuck at home, worrying about making ends meet. I’ve also seen some inspiring acts of people caring for each other and supporting each other as a community.

I don’t have anything profound to say other than I’m wishing you all well. This is a crazy crazy time but I know that readers of Tea’s Weird Week are creative and resourceful and we’ll make it through. For this column, I just want to share some stuff I’ve been into the last few days.

Listening:

–I saw this shared somewhere, and this is my favorite new site: Radio Garden. It allows you to drag a cursor around a globe and click on livestreams of radio stations around the world. Listen to broadcasts in Kalamazoo or Amsterdam or Cape Town. I don’t know, there’s just something nice about hearing that other people are out there in the world and hear what they’re currently talking about and rocking out to.

–Feral House (publisher of my upcoming book American Madness) did a podcast episode interviewing Aton Edwards of director of the International Prepardness Network. Insightful with good tips. Listen here: https://feralhouse.podbean.com/e/special-episode-march-14-2020-preparedness-now-pandemic-prep-w-aton-edwards/

–I’ve been listening to the daily CNN podcast Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction. It’s a short listen with episodes 7-15 minutes in length. Great to listen to while during tasks around the house. If you’ve followed this column you know there is a metric shit ton of misinfo out there, so a dose of factual reporting feels great.

Watching:

I think it’s really cool that everyone from the Dropkick Murphys to the Paris Opera are offering free streaming performances. Lots more of these are popping up, so do some online searching for your favorite artists/ genres and I’m sure you’ll find something. I watched the Murphs live in Boston and enjoyed it. It’s not different than concert video footage, but there was a little bit of excitement that they were live, doing it for their fans, who were watching live with you around the world.

Other virtual events include movie watch parties via Facebook and other platforms and having an online happy hour on-nomi (Japanese: “online drinking”) party on video conferencing sites like Zoom. My friends have been doing this and I can’t wait to join in.

Another way of taking a look at the world while stuck at home is taking a virtual tour of museums. I haven’t checked these out yet, but I will be next week. I’m planning on deliberatly scheduling them like I would normally do something (like write “check out the Lourve, 5pm Tuesday” on my calendar.)

Mental Floss has a listicle of 12 online museum tours here: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/75809/12-world-class-museums-you-can-visit-online

Writing:

This might be a shocker, but I didn’t get into writing to be rich or famous. It’s something I love to do and it’s therapeutic for me. It is sometimes all I got. This is a good time for you to try it out and work on your writing ideas, even if it’s something that never gets published. On Friday the 13th I started a “Plague Diary” in an empty notebook I had stashed away in a desk drawer. I haven’t done much journaling in life (usually too busy chasing someone else’s story) but I thought now was a good time to spend some time each day writing down some of my emotions, thoughts, and anything else that crosses my mind– I had a strange dream that my grandfather was still alive and hosting a quarantine party, for example.

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This journaling might lead to something (I’ll probably share some excerpts from the journal in this column in the future), or we might all hit the sunny streets when this is all over and it’ll be forgotten. But it might be of interest to look at this 10, 20 years from now and remember the COVID-19 days of 2020. Writing is my way of making sense of things. For you, it might be creating art or music. I hope you are not spending all of your time worrying and have something to like this to offer some balance.

Reading:

It’s a good time to catch up on your reading list. I’ve got a stack of books I’m cruising through. I also read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.” Pandemic dystopia reading probably isn’t for everyone at this time, but I like to take a deep dive into things so I’ll be reading more stuff along these lines.

My friends at Lion’s Tooth are doing an online fundraiser toward getting a brick and mortar location and they’re offering pledge levels for receiving a subscription package of cool zines and books. In light of the quarantine, they’re offering to send off your first subscription package right away. I can’t think of anything better than a surprise package of good reading material right now. Check out their Indiegogo for more info here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-milwaukee-s-newest-bookstore#/

Here’s links to two of my Tea’s Weird Week reading lists, all titles on them recommended:

Fall Reading List / Winter Reading List (I’m working on a Spring one now).

Of course, I would be poor at self-promotion if I didn’t plug my own books for quarantine reading. I’ve lost some work so buying a book (or buying me a coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/TeaKrulos) is very much appreciated. Now is a good time to read Apocalypse Any Day Now: Deep Underground with America’s Doomsday Preppers which talks about prepping and apocalyptic visions and I also have a collection of the Tea’s Weird Week columns I wrote in 2019 as a Kindle e-book ($1.99/ free on Kindle Unlimited) Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review.

Stay tuned because tomorrow I’ll be offering a FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST here at teakrulos.com for copies of my books!

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Conspiracy News

As always, click the highlighted links to see my source material. I’m still following conspiracy theory news (I can’t help it, old habits) and as you can imagine, there is a tidal wave of conspiracy, fear, paranoia, and anger crashing in. (See my last column, “M-M-M-My Corona” for some examples). The COVID-19 shutdown has caused people to snap. Witness the defiant dumbness of Kid Rock, who refused to close his bar or the total Twitter meltdown from former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke Jr., who urged people to defy orders to stay home and tied the pandemic to conspiracy boogeyman George Soros.

I’ve seen a couple puzzling posts floating around saying “Anti-vaxxers sure are quiet right now” and “where is Alex Jones in all this?” Umm– no they are not and believe me, he’s as loud and shrill as ever. Alex Jones, along with televangelist Jim Bakker were both ordered to stop trying to sell phony coronavirus cures. Bakker had a bogus silver solution and Jones made the claim that his special Anti-coronavirus toothpaste “kills the whole SARS-corona virus family at point-blank range.” New punk/metal band name: Alex Jones and the Anti-coronavirus Toothpaste Sham.

LizCrokin

Celebrity gossip columnist turned QAnon theorist Liz Crokin.

I also discovered the craziest coronavirus conspiracy theorist of all time, Liz Crokin. Crokin used to be a celebrity gossip columnist (her specialty was celebrity breakups) until she had some serious medical issues. Afterward, she became known as a feverish Trump supporter and QAnon advocate. QAnon believes that Trump is secretly working on a program called “The Storm” which will round up a Democrat-Satanic-Pedophile ring. Her recent theories related to the pandemic:

–Coronavirus is a cover story so the military can round up and make mass arrests of the Deep State unnoticed.

–Beloved actor Tom Hanks is an example of this pedophile ring which is why the story leaked that he had COVID-19. (Note: he’s since quickly recovered, so it wasn’t a very good cover story, apparently. But then she said that the virus was real and celebrities like Hanks and Idris Alba were contracting it from drinking adrenochrome.

–She also tweeted “I grow my own cultured mud scrubs in my backyard, but right now it’s probably best to not wash your hands at all- skin mites and oil are all you need to combat this bacteria.” Yick. Thankfully, her Twitter account was suspended.

I think I’ve been on the Internet too long.

Please Clap Dept.: Thank you, Cult of Weird, for including my upcoming book American Madness on this list of “5 Upcoming Weird Books You Can Pre-order Right Now” at: https://www.cultofweird.com/books/upcoming-weird-books-2020/

The #TrumpConsiracyCounter is taking a quarantine break, but will be back next week. 

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

Tea’s Weird Week: M-m-m-my Corona

TWWheader

I met with my editor for my upcoming book American Madness (out in August) the other day. Among other things, we discussed in-store appearances to promote it. Oh yay, that’s the fun part! After years of quiet, careful work, I get to see your beautiful faces and tell you all about it.

But wait a minute now– as my editor pointed out, we don’t really know where in the world things will be with this coronavirus pandemic. Everything is getting canceled– South by Southwest, Coachella, live studio audiences for TV shows, classes, political rallies, and the entire NBA season. Will we all be locked down in quarantine? Will I be giving a book presentation to a group of people in hazmat suits?

Everyone is suddenly an expert, and the prognosis ranges from apocalyptic plague to just a case of the sniffles. As you can guess, one of my keen interests in all this is the viral spreading of conspiracy theories, which are flying like a sneeze in a hurricane.

Just a rundown– QAnon believes this is either a plot by the Deep State to discredit Trump or, alternately, a cover story initiated by Trump and company to act as cover for them taking out the Deep State as in yeah sure, that evil pedophile Democrat died of coronavirus, wink wink. Meanwhile, Anti-vaxxers are pinning this on go-to conspiracy villain Bill Gates. They say he cooked this up in a lab and the virus is a “false flag” so we all are forced to get mandatory vaccines that contain a brainwashing drugs or microchips. Others say the CIA cooked the virus up as a bio-weapon against China, while British conspiracists say it was invented to stop Brexit. Internet rumor says gargling bleach or ripping lines of cocaine can stop the virus and scammers are trying to cash in with snakeoil products. We are really living in a Rennaissance period of conspiracy theory.

While scrolling through articles on the coronavirus, I was amused to see everyone’s favorite parodist musician “Weird Al” Yankovic get pulled into the discussion. Al’s fans were rallying him to do a parody of The Knack’s 1979 hit “My Sharona” (if you’re a true fan, you know he already has– his early hit “My Bologna.”)

Al responded on Twitter: “Yeah, no, sorry. Not going to do ‘My Corona.'”

I get it. Al’s family-friendly style isn’t suited for making joke songs about a disease that’s quarantined entire countries and has already killed a couple thousand (and counting) people around the world. I don’t want to make light of that either, and I feel really badly for the many small business owners and people in the entertainment industry who struggle to make ends meet to begin with and are now facing financial disaster.

Instead, I’m focusing my parody hit single, “My Corona,” on the conspiracists and con men spreading misinformation for monetary or political gain. I constructed it based on articles I’ve read in the last week or so– click the highlighted lyrics to see the sources. (And if any musicians want to record this, let me know– you might have extra time now that you’re on lockdown.)

Black White Simple Quote Instagram Post (8)

Ooh my little greedy one, my greedy one
Jim Bakker tried to scam some cash, Corona!
that move is total scum but not as dumb
as Anti-vaxxers spreading lies like a rash, Corona!

Coronavirus is creating a fake-news nightmarescape
and check out the kinky gas mask on Matt Gaetz
but now he’s quarantined for my, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Corona!

Cough a little closer, huh, a-will ya, huh?
try not to lose your lunch, Corona!
when you hear Trump say “derp dee duh”
he says it’s based on his “hunch,” Corona!

Democrat hoax, false flag, and Deep State
Mike Pence will pray it away, not so great
Trump says it’s “fake news,” but the fake is yous
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Corona!
M-m-m-my Corona!

Please don’t drink bleach or use cocaine as your treatment plan
and be sure to spend 20 seconds when you wash your h-h-h-hands Corona! Woo! M-m-m-my Corona!

The #TrumpConspiracyCounter has mutated into its own separate post, published the same day as this column. This week we talk about “Nero Trump” and his signaling to QAnon. To read it, scroll down or click here: https://teakrulos.com/2020/03/12/trumpconspiracycounter-march-11/

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

#TrumpConspiracyCounter: March 11

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#Trumpconspiracycounter2020 (7)Coronavirus is the hot topic of the day and source of conspiracy theory spiraling out of control. Trump’s number one media advocate, Sean Hannity hosts a QAnon believer to tell everyone is a “Deep State” fearmongering plot. Trump tried to brush it off initially, claiming the outbreak was hype meant to damage his presidency, though as the virus has turned out to be a pandemic, he’s been trying to show he’s putting forward efforts to combat the coronavirus.

In today’s Tea’s Weird Week column (CLICK HERE) you see examples of scams and conspiracies blowing up over the last week. [For more, I recommend reading “Coronavirus is creating a Fake-News Nighmarescape,” Vanity Fair.]

120.) March 8: Hashtag #NeroTrump trends after Trump posts a bizarre meme, shown in the graphic above. It shows Trump playing a fiddle, with lettering reading “My next piece is called…nothing can stop what’s coming,” retweeting Dan Scavino, Director of Social Media at the White House.  Trump commented, “Who knows what it means, but it sounds good to me!”

Um, a couple things. First, the timing, during a coronavirus pandemic and a stock market crash, immediately brought to mind Nero fiddling while Rome burnt.

“Nothing can stop what’s coming” is language frequently used by QAnon to describe their theory of “the Storm,” a day that Trump’s “Deep State” enemies– Democrats, the FBI, Fake News media, etc., will be rounded up for running a pedophile sex trafficking ring and other crimes, according to QAnon lore. This looks like Scavino and/or Trump directly appealing to the Q cult.

121-122.) March 9:  Retweets of Lori Hendry, who has promoted Pizzagate and other conspiracies.

123-134.) March 9-10: Blast of retweets and endorsement of Turning Point USA Charlie Kirk and his new book, The MAGA Doctrine: The Only Ideas That Will Win the Future.

135.) March 9: Retweets someone named Jose Deynes, I italicized part that warrants an entry here:

The President has a duty to protect the American people from two equally dangerous threats: 1)the coronavirus and 2)the mass hysteria that MSM wants to create with the sole purpose of politically hurting the President.

136.) Counting this tweet for “Deep State” content:

“Trump has outmastered the Deep State. He’s light years ahead of us.” MSDNC. I disagree. We have a long way to go. There are still some very bad, sick people in our government – people who do not love our Country (In fact, they hate our Country!).

137.) March 10: We’re going to count this tweet as it implies Democrats have some secret agenda to eliminate cars.

If you like automobiles, how can you vote for a Democrat who all want to get rid of cars, as quickly as possible, especially if they are powered by gasoline. Remember also, no more than one car per family. I, on the other hand, have new plants being built all over Michigan, Plus!


Twitter: #TrumpConspiracyCounter

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

Tea’s Weird Week: The #TrumpConspiracyCounter Zooms Past 100

TeaWeirdWeek

When Democrats choose their candidate, they’ll have to face the storm of a massive propaganda machine– Russian troll farms, targeted disinformation campaigns, and a tidal wave of vomit spewing forth from the Alt-Right and conspiracy theorists filled with lies, fear-mongering, and every dirty trick in the book. And nobody does this better than Donald Trump himself.

With my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness out in August, I thought that I would do a project this year where I try to catalog all of the times Trump promotes conspiracy theory. What I’ve seen in just two months is frightening, but not surprising.

To recap some #TrumpConspiracyCounter rules: In addition to his direct promotion of a conspiracy, I tally every time Trump retweets or endorses a known conspiracy theorist or outlet, even if he is just retweeting them saying “have a nice day” or something. Why? Because Trump is the President of the United States. He has a huge platform of 72 million plus followers on Twitter (though many are bots) and his tweets get retweeted tens and hundreds of thousands of times. That’s introducing these people and their ideas to a huge platform.

I try to keep track of things best I can, but you could have a whole team devoted to this and I’m just one guy. So think of the #TrumpConspiracyCounter as a highlight reel to what I can catch, which is still enough to keep the counter clicking away rapidly. Just over two months into the year and we’re already at 119.

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Biggest stories so far: Some of the noteworthy stories from the last couple months include Trump awarding vile gasbag and conspiracy monger Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the State of the Union address. He also heavily defended his former advisor, 7-time felon, self-described “dirty trickster,” Batman villain, and conspiracist Roger Stone. Over the last week Trump (along with Limbaugh, FOX News, and other outlets) have pushed the narrative that the threat of the coronavirus is a Democrat/ Fake News “hoax” to damage Trump’s reputation. He even suggested in an interview with Sean Hannity that coronavirus was equitable to common influenza and people would be fine going to work with it and in true Trump fashion said his info was based on a “hunch.” (Tea’s Weird Week health tip: don’t go to work if you have the coronavirus.)

The coronavirus conspiracies have spread faster than the virus itself. Anti-vaxxers, QAnon believers, and others are passing around theories that the virus was cooked up by mad scientist Bill Gates and that the government will enforce a mandatory vaccine as part of a mass brainwashing program.

Most under the radar story: A couple weeks ago, I wrote a column about how two dozen people in the 2020 race for Congress are QAnon supporters. Trump has retweeted DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, a QAnon believer running against Nancy Pelosi, several times. I’m surprised I haven’t seen more press on this. My column is here: “There Are Two Dozen Members of QAnon Running for Congress.”

Most frequent: In our fist #TrumpConspiracyCounter entry, we talked about conspiracy in Trump’s daily language as he uses terms like “witch hunt,” “hoax,” and “fake news” (and I admitted I couldn’t tally it all due to the frequency he uses it). He’s also very much still obsessed with “Spygate,” the unfounded theory that Obama (with help from the FBI) wiretapped Trump Tower in 2016. He’s brought it up frequently this year, including at the Milwaukee Trump rally I attended and in January, he tweeted out the image below.

EPA3p4FUYAAyFUW

The most frequent theorists he’s retweeted so far include Dan Bongino, an InfoWars favorite and author of a book on Spygate and Tom Fitton, who runs a “watchdog group” called Judicial Watch which has spread conspiracies about voter fraud, climate change, and the “Deep State.”

Conspiracy outlets Trump has retweeted: Trump has retweeted these sources, which frequently pump out conspiracy: The Blaze (a media outlet run by Glenn Beck), Breitbart News, The Epoch Times (run by the Falun Gong, they’ve promoted QAnon and have spent over $9 million on Trump ads and created hundreds of fake accounts to promote them), and Big League Politics (started by a former Breitbart writer who says Alex Jones was “his Walter Cronkite.”) among others. Here’s the counter tallies from Feb. 20-March3.

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#Trumpconspiracycounter2020 (6)97-100.) Feb. 20: Quadruple Hit! “… it appears that Trump combined claims of Democratic voter fraud, unfair media bias, intelligence-community misconduct, and the misreporting of his crowd sizes into one big mess of paranoia.” We’re counting that as 4.
Source: “Trump Enters Full Conspiracist Mode at Colorado Rally,” New York magazine

101.) Feb. 20:  At the same Colorado rally, Trump brought up a frequent enemy: wind turbines. In the past Trump has bizarrely claimed that the sound of wind turbines causes cancer, that they are a mass bird killer (they do kill birds, but not nearly as much as windows, cats, and electric lines do) and, despite claiming “I know windmills very much,” says that people won’t be able to watch their TVs on a calm day, due to lack of power.

Here’s a line from his Colorado rally: “Blow wind please; please keep the birds away from those windmills, please.”

If you think it’s a little…I dunno…out of character for Trump to have an animal rights activism streak for the birds, you’re right. Trump does not give a flying fuck about golden eagles. In actuality, Trump began his quixotic quest after windfarms were proposed in proximity to his golf course in Scotland. Trump became furious at the idea of “ugly” wind turbines ruining the view of his golf course, saying it was an act of “public vandalism.” His crusade against these “eyesores” has been blowing in the wind ever since. Much like his theory that energy-efficient light bulbs make your skin look orange, this is a Trump conspiracy born of his own vanity.

Sources: “Trump Condemns California Wind Farm as Decrepit Eagle Killer,” Forbes.
“Trump resumes fight against windfarm near Scottish golf course,” The Guardian.

102) Feb. 21: Retweets Charlie Kirk (Turning Point USA).

103-104.) Feb. 24: two retweets from Lori Hendry about the plight of Roger Stone. Has promoted Pizzagate and a number of other anti-Democrat conspiracies/ falsehoods, including one that Chuck Schumer raped his 16-year-old daughter’s friend, who comitted suicide. That’s false. Here Trump was retweeting Hendry’s tweets about Roger Stone.

105-107.) Feb. 25: More Retweets and a tweet claiming Roger Stone got an unfair trial.

108.) Feb. 26: Retweets Eric Bolling of The Blaze conspiracy site.

109.) Feb. 26: Retweets Tom Fitton (Judicial Watch).

110-112.) Feb.26: 3 retweets from Mark Levin (The Blaze), 2 on Roger Stone.

113.) Feb.26: Retweets DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, one of the two dozen QAnon believers running for Congress this year.

114.) Feb.27: Trump met for 45 minutes with the cast of a “low budget conservative play about the Deep State” titled FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers by playwright Phelim McAleer.
Source: “Trump Spends 45 Minutes With ‘Deep State’ Play Actors Amid Coronavirus Mayhem,Daily Beast.

115.) Feb. 28: Trump joins in with Rush Limbaugh, FOX, and others in saying that concerns about the coronavirus are a “hoax” to make him look bad. Source: “Trump calls coronavirus Democrats’ ‘new hoax,’” NBC News.

116.) Feb.29: We’re giving one point for Trump attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). It’s a den of Alt-Right characters and conspiracy. Here’s an article about last year’s conference: “The Conspiracy Theory President Finds His Comfort Zone at CPAC,” Washington Monthly. This year, coronavirus conspiracies were a popular topic.

Interesting side note: Owen Shroyer of InfoWars was kicked out of CPAC this year after ambushing pundit Seb Gorka at the conference. That led Alex Jones to do the rational thing– he called  CPAC Seb Gorka “a gay whale” and “snakeoil salesman” and challenged him to a bare-knuckle boxing match.

117-118.) March 1 & 3: Tweets endorsement of Charlie Kirk‘s (Turning Point USA) new book The MAGA Doctrine.

119.) March 3: Retweets Dana Loesch, a Blaze, Breitbart, and former NRA-TV personality.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

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