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Tea’s Weird Week: The Orange Stain

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If you’ve ever heated up some leftover spaghetti in a plastic Tupperware container in the microwave, you know that you then forever have this kinda gross orangish-red stain on the container. It looks like the sauce has fused permanently into the plastic. You give it a scrub down, maybe throw it in the dishwasher– and it somehow looks even worse.

I’m just so sick of Trump– his stupid face, his ridiculous ego, his stupid family, his Orwellian cabinet, his Alt-Right flunkies like Stephen Miller, “Sloppy Steve” Bannon, Roger Stone, etc., his dumb, dangerous rhetoric, his xenophobia and racism, and perhaps most of all, his reckless spewing of misinformation and conspiracy-mongering, which has been proven to be fatal.

I wrote about Trump a lot in this column in 2020. It was an election year, my book about conspiracy theory, American Madness, was published, and so I wanted to share my observations about the conspiracy epidemic. I wish I could tell you this is the last time I’ll be writing I’ll be writing about the Orange One, but I know the repercussions of Trump will be felt for years, probably even generations. There is a lot to dissect and examine to try to figure out just how in the flying fuck we got here. The MAGA crowd will try to play forward the myth that he was a great hero, like the depiction in that stupid MAGA flag of Trump’s face grafted onto Rambo’s body. Others will compare him to dictators like Hitler and Mussolini, or cult-leaders like Manson and Jim Jones.

To the latter, just look at his own cult, QAnon, the driving force behind January 6’s Q d’etat, and his violent street gang, the Proud Boys (who were also present at the coup, along with Alex Jones, assorted white supremacists, militias, and uh…a Chuck Norris look-alike, Britney Spear’s ex-boyfriend, the guitarist from Iced Earth, among other seditionists.)

My comparison? Well, I’m not above making an absurd argument in absurd times. In 2019 I wrote a column titled “A Theory About Vampires, Zombies, Killer Clowns…and Donald J. Trump” which attempted to tie the Trump presidency into a trend of films like It and Joker. That’s how I view Trump: a killer clown– stupid, crazy, dangerous, with heavy facepaint.

I’m excited to take a break about talking about Trump for awhile. I’m sure he’ll be back in the future, but the columns I have planned over the next month or so are going to feature people I find interesting and inspiring, delightfully unusual.

Maybe this is my way of trying to spray down the orange stain.

Tea’s Weird Week podcast episode 2! I talk more about the orange stain, then me and my co-anchor Heidi Erickson talk about our favorite weird news this week, including a QAnon Bigfoot named Zorth, the exciting mayoral campaign of luchador Blue Demon Junior, mystical cats, elephant dung gin, and the popularity of sea shanties on TikTok (and to give us an example of one, special guest Chris Tischler of Chief sings us “Soon May the Wellermen Come.”) Plus Miss Information’s trivia question (send answer to teasweirdweek@gmail.com to be entered in monthly prize drawing) and a great new collaborative track from Lauryl Sulfate & Her Ladies of Leisure and LUXI, “Basement Show.” Original music and sound editing by Android138.

Listen here: https://teasweirdweek.podbean.com/e/teas-weird-week-episode-2-the-orange-stain/
Also available on: Player FM//Spotify//Soundcloud//Sticher

Check out my latest books:
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousnessbookshop.org/books/american-madness-the-story-of-the-phantom-patriot-and-how-conspiracy-theories-hijacked-american-consciousness/9781627310963
Tea’s Weird Week: 2020 Review 
(e-book, $2.99/free on KU)https://www.amazon.com/Teas-Weird-Week-2020-Review-ebook/dp/B08SGL97YJ/ref=sr_1_1
Wisconsin Legends & Lorewww.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467143448

Tea’s Weird Week: Q D’ETAT! (And the Top Ten Frightening Conspiracy Theory Stories of 2020)

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I’ve spent years studying the dangers of conspiracy theory. It all started when I was contacted by a man named Richard McCaslin, who told me about his raid on a secret society retreat called the Bohemian Grove, dressed as his own superhero persona, the Phantom Patriot. Meeting Richard led me through the strange and often terrible world of Conspiracyland, documented in my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness. At this time, conspiracy theorists were often lone wolfs. That’s evolved in recent years into conspiracy cult thinking– what we saw on January 6 at the Capitol, the event I refer to as the “Q d’etat,” was a full on army of conspiracy theorists.

As I was glued to my TV in shock, I thought about Richard, who is no longer with us. If he was, would we have seen him dressed in his Phantom Patriot costume marching through a haze of tear gas in the halls of the Capitol building with the rest of them? Perhaps. Even after years of interviewing him, I found Richard’s thinking unpredictable at times. I think he would have liked the idea of a “patriot revolution” raiding the Capitol, but then again Richard clearly wrote in his last testament that he was no fan of Trump, who he thought was a Reptilian alien, and he viewed QAnon as a government manufactured “psy-op” program. Richard was so deep in the bottomless rabbit hole that the conspiracies had conspiracies.

Despite the ridiculous theories that this violence was caused by hundreds of Antifa disguised in MAGA gear, anyone can see that this was the work of Trump’s cult, QAnon, and his street gangs like the Proud Boys, other Alt-Right, white supremacists, neo-confederates, and militia groups. The first person to breach the Capitol was a guy in a Q t-shirt. The guy we’re all sick of seeing, Jake Angeli, wearing a buffalo horn headdress, no shirt, and star-spangled facepaint, called himself the “QAnon Shaman.”

After the Q army was cleared, authorities found pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, guns, a noose hanging from gallows on the scene. Plans included hanging Mike Pence, assassinating Nancy Pelosi, and kidnapping members of Congress (some even carried flex cuffs to help capture hostages).

5 people died. Ashli Babbitt was an Air Force vet and QAnon believer who had tweeted she was going to be part of “the Storm”– QAnon lingo for a revolution. She said “nothing will stop us,” but was shot as she tried to climb through a doorway in the Capitol. Rosanne Boyland, another QAnon follower, was in the crowd waving the Gadsen “don’t tread on me” flag, but was trampled to death in the crowd. Benjamin Phillips told a reporter that the event “feels like the first day of the rest of our live,” but died of a stroke. And the death of Kevin Greeson was said to have been caused by him falling while trying to steal a painting, his taser landing in his crotch, zapping him until he had a heart attack. The truth of that story is disputed, but it will live on as part of Q d’etat lore.

Lastly, Officer Brian Sicknick died fro his injuries after the crowd beat him with a fire extinguisher. 60 some other officers were injured, proving that this crowd doesn’t care so much about “blue lives” as they do about disparaging black ones.

How did the hell did we get here? I think the first problem to look at is the growing conspiracy violence over the last year. The sad thing about writing this column was that finding ten stories to write about was not difficult at all. Any one of these stories should be frightening and disturbing. But taken together as a whole, it points to conspiracy theory being an out-of-control public health emergency, a problem that has continued to grow and escalated into the Q d’etat and the potential threats we are being warned about that could unfold over the next week. The FBI reports that extremists like the Boogaloo movement are planning violence surrounding Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Photo via the BBC.

Here are 10 stories of conspiracy violence that I followed in 2020 that paved the path to the Capitol insurrection.

1.) Trump’s normalization of conspiracy theory: The seeds of the scene we saw at the Capitol January 6 began with Trump making conspiracy part of his everyday language. He popularized phrases ripe with conspiracy like “witch hunt,” “fake news,” “hoax,” “Obamagate,” and “election fraud.” He gave a platform to conspiracy theorists and outlets and promoted conspiracy ideas from the ridiculous, trivial ones that bugged his ego (“energy efficient bulbs make my skin look orange”) to the ones that ended in bloodshed (“mass election fraud stole the election from me.”)
See more: “Firehose of Falsehood: An Autopsy of Trump’s Conspiracy Theory Presidency (and Why It Will Haunt Us Moving Forward

2.) Crazy Train: Not an April Fool’s– on April 1 a man named Eduardo Moreno, a locomotive engineer, hijacked a train and derailed it in Los Angeles. His plan was to jump the train at the end of the tracks and crash it into the USNS Mercy hospital ship, which had recently arrived to help with overflow COVID patients. Moreno thought the ship was part of a New World Order police state takeover. He 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.”
See more: “Conspiracy Theory Trainwreck.”

A literal conspiracy trainwreck in Los Angeles, April 1, 2020.


3.) 5G Arsons: Conspiracies about 5G internet range from cancer and other illness from “5G radiation” to it being the cause or exacerbating COVID to government mind control programs. This has led to a string of arsons across Europe, burning down 5G towers (and towers misidentified as 5G ones) and internet service workers being harassed in the streets. Between spring and summer of 2020, there were hundreds of cell tower arsons in the UK, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Cyprus, Canada, as well as in the U.S., where there was an arson in Oregon and a wave of damaged or disabled towers in Tennessee.

4.) Q Goes to Congress: QAnon has emerged as the biggest conspiracy threat we face, as evidenced by the Q d’etat. Leading up to that have been several stories of QAnon believers kidnapping or running people off the roads because they suspect they are “pedophiles.” All this makes it even more disturbing that Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon follower, was elected to Congress to represent Georgia. Her collegue, Lauren Boebert (of Colorado) has also played with QAnon ideas.

In her short time in office, Rep. Greene has already had an incredibly stupid career– she caused a shouting match in the first hour of her first day on the job for not wearing a mask on the floor; on her second day she said Georgia’s election results needed to be overturned…but just the presidential ones, you know, not the ones that elected her on the same Georgia ballot. Her most recent antic is announcing that she will be introducing articles of impeachment against Joe Biden… on January 21, his first full day in office. Good grief.

Rep. Boebert is facing calls to resign for both inciting the crowd (among other things, she tweeted out “This is 1776!”) and revealing that Speaker Pelosi had been removed from the chambers during the insurrection, seen as tipping off those who were looking to kidnap or assassinate her. Almost 100 candidates with QAnon beliefs ran for office in 2020.
See more: “Well, it Happened: Meet Your First QAnon Congressional Representative.”

QAnon conspiracy promoter and House rep Marjorie Greene of Georgia.

5.) Stupid Bay of Pigs: I think this May 4 story got glossed over in the craziness of spring 2020, but Operation: Gideon, or as it was soon nicknamed, “Stupid Bay of Pigs,” was an attempt by a private American company, Silvercorp USA, to send a team of American mercenaries and Venezuelan dissidents to overthrow the government of Venezuela. They hoped to be hailed as heroes and make some pretty sweet reward money.

They thought they could pull this off with 60 people. Needless to say everything went incredibly wrong and when the two fiberglass boats full of mercenaries arrived, 8 were shot dead and 17 captured while the rest scrambled their escape. One of the two Americans who led the way, was, you guessed it, into QAnon.

6.) Election Fraud Cop: The number one source amplifying election fraud conspiracies is of course Trump himself. Here’s just one example of where that rhetoric has led– in October, an ex-cop in Houston named Mark Aguirre decided he would become a detective vigilante, hunting down fraudulent ballots.

He began tailing what he viewed as a suspicious van for several days and became convinced that it was full of thousands of fake ballots. He eventually ran this vehicle off the road and pulled a gun on the driver, but when he opened the doors, he discovered…tools and spare parts for the man’s air-conditioning repair service. He’s an ex-cop for a reason. In 2002 he led a botched raid on a K-Mart parking lot, arresting 278 people, accusing them of being part of a street racing ring. The arrests led to millions of dollars in lawsuits for the city and Officer Aguirre was fired.

7.) Wolverine Watchmen: A gang of militia domestic terrorists calling themselves the Wolverine Watchmen actively plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. They went so far as to stake out Gov. Whitmer’s vacation home and made a plan to bring her to Wisconsin to placed under their own “trial.” Other ideas included storming the Michigan Capitol to take hostages, much like we saw attempted at the Q d’etat, and blowing up a bridge to distract law enforcement. Multiple members shared links to InfoWars, QAnon, and pandemic conspiracy theories on their social media.
See more: “A Militia of Phantom Patriots.”

8.) Anti-maskers: I’m just going to put this here. I regret to inform you this is just one of many dozens and dozens of terrible examples:


9.) The Nashville Christmas Bomber: As the details have been rolling in, we see a portrait of Anthony Quinn Warner, the suicide bomber who detonated an RV full of explosives in downtown Nashville as a conspiracy theorists who believed in Reptilian aliens, among other beliefs. It’s unclear what his exact motivation was or if his target was the AT&T center he parked next to, but his conspiracy believers are at least part of his mindset.

See more: “Nashville Bomber was a Conspiracy Believer, Reptilian ‘Hunter’

10.) COVID Anti-vaxxers: A story close to home, here– a pharmacist at a health center in Grafton, Steven Bradenburg, pulled the equivalent of about 570 COVID vaccine doses out of their refrigerated storage to purposely ruin them, because he believed the vaccines were dangerous and could alter human DNA. It’s clear from his divorce proceedings that he had taken a scary turn into doomsday prepping, believing the government has a plan to shut down the power grid to create an apocalyptic police state. This story is still unfolding, but it leads me to what I think the biggest conspiracy threats of 2021 are.

One, I think we’ll see more stories like the Q d’etat and the Wolverine Watchmen kidnapping plot. All of these Trump QAnon/Alt-Right/Militia/White Supremacists aren’t disappearing on January 20 and in fact, many will consider themselves to be at war with the Biden administration. Two, much like the Bradenburg cases, there’s going to be lots of anti-vaxx issues with the COVID vaccine. We finally got the cure, but will people skip it because they believe they’ll turn into a crocodile or be microchipped by Bill Gates? Will it continue to be sabotaged by anti-vaxxers? Is our country just too dumb and selfish to get past a pandemic?

We’ll see. I hope I’m wrong. Please be safe out there!


Please Clap Dept: Thanks to Emily McFarlan Miller, who did a great interview with me about American Madness and conspiracy threats for Religion News Service: “Conspiracy theories and the ‘American Madness’ that gripped the Capitol.”

I’m happy to present episode 1 of the Tea’s Weird Week podcast! I talk more about the ideas in this column, then me and Heidi Erickson review weird news about monoliths, killer squirrels, black holes, state dinosaurs, and the fate of the Hall of President’s Trumpbot. There’s also trivia by Quizmaster Miss Information, plus a new track by Sunspot, “Hold on for Your Life.” Original music and sound editing by Android138.

Listen here: teasweirdweek.podbean.com/e/teas-weird-week-episode-01-q-detat

Buy my books:
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness: bookshop.org/books/american-madness-the-story-of-the-phantom-patriot-and-how-conspiracy-theories-hijacked-american-consciousness/9781627310963
Tea’s Weird Week: 2020 Review (e-book): https://www.amazon.com/Teas-Weird-Week-2020-Review-ebook/dp/B08SGL97YJ/ref=sr_1_1
Wisconsin Legends & Lore: www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467143448

Tea’s Weird Week: Big in 2021

What a crazy year it’s been, right?! I’m talking about 2021. Well, Tea’s Weird Week is back to take on this new year! As I get this column up and running again, I got a few things I’d like to share:

New art! A round of applause please for the beautiful new columnhead art by Addo Workman of Cut-it-Out Studios. I decided to switch out columnhead art every year, so Addo’s follows 2019’s design by my sister, Margot Lange, and 2020’s design by J.Jason Groschopf (you can see a version of that as the website banner). I love Addo’s cut paper style and it does look like a situation I’d get myself into! Check out Addo’s site here: www.cutitoutstudios.com

New! Tea’s Weird Week Facebook group and…PODCAST: One of my great joys of social media has been the Tea’s Weird Week Facebook group, which I started a month or two ago. It’s become a clearinghouse of weird news, memes, music, pictures, monolith sightings, and more. It’s been great fun– we had a 2020 haiku contest, gave our 420th member the group nickname “Chronic the Hemphog” and voted on whether Anna should spend the night in a haunted hotel. Join the group HERE. I’m also glad to say a Tea’s Weird Week podcast is in production and will premiere in this column next week– I’ll save the details for then.

While You Were Gone: I’ve been devoted to conspiracy theory study (the theme of my latest book, American Madness), and several significant conspiracy theory stories unfolded while Tea’s Weird Week was on vacation, most notably the Nashville Bomber and the man who purposely destroyed COVID vaccines here in Wisconsin– both confirmed conspiracy believers.

And then there was what I’m dubbing the “Q d’etat,” the conspiracy mob raid on the Capitol building yesterday. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this, but as Vice reports “QAnon Led the Storming of the US Capitol.” This is all disturbing, crazy, frightening and I’ll be writing and talking about this on the podcast in more detail next week.

Kevin Spacey’s Murder Holiday Message: My very first column of 2020 was titled “Have a Happy Murder Holiday with Kevin Spacey,” in which I wrote about Spacey’s eerie tradition of recording a short, threatening holiday message in character as Frank Underwood from House of Cards for two Christmas Eves in a row. The big question was, would he return Christmas Eve 2020? Yes, he did. This year he changed it up, though, delivering a message about suicide prevention rather than he usual weird vague murder threats. Huh.

What I’m working on in 2021: 2020 was a development year for me, where I explored different book ideas. I came up with four ideas and one has been scrapped for parts, one back-burnered, one is in further development, and one is a go. The project in further development is one that I think I can do well with and will be very much in line with the previous books I’ve written. Sorry to be vague, but I don’t like to say anything until it’s officially signed up.

There is one writing project I can announce, though. (Working title) Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches will be out in 2022 from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. It’s a collection of short stories about a greasy spoon/pharmacy I worked at in my youth, stories about the regulars and my co-workers, along with some sketches I did while at work. I’m really happy with it and wrapping up the writing this month.

Please Clap Dept.: If you want to catch up on this column, the Tea’s Weird Week: 2020 Review e-book collects my columns from last year, available for $2.99/ free on Kindle Unlimited here: https://www.amazon.com/Teas-Weird-Week-2020-Review-ebook/dp/B08SGL97YJ/ref=sr_1_1 It’s on Goodreads HERE.

Over the holiday break, I was guest on two great podcasts. The Fantastic Story Society was a fun talk about the writing process: fantastic.libsyn.com/fantastic-story-society-ep-13-tea-krulos-richard-mccaslins-american-madness-the-dark-side-of-conspiracy-theory
And dear me, Deep Cuts did a 3-hour long podcast on Richard McCaslin/ American Madness!podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/phantom-patriot-deep-state-superhero/id1501739859?i=1000503306882

Thanks for joining me on the Tea’s Weird Week platforms in 2021. To quote Kevin Spacey, I’m dead serious.

Buy my books:
American Madness: bookshop.org/books/american-madness-the-story-of-the-phantom-patriot-and-how-conspiracy-theories-hijacked-american-consciousness/9781627310963
Wisconsin Legends & Lore: www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467143448

Tea’s Weird Week: Trump’s Loser Christmas Carol (a Holiday Story for 2020)

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When I was a kid, I loved to play Mad Libs. When my parents would take me on a road trip I’d ask for nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc., and fill in the blanks. I also have a great memory of playing a game called The Merry Game of Fibber McGee and the Wistful Vista Mystery. Fibber McGee and Molly were a comedy duo with a popular radio show broadcast out of Chicago and this game with their namesake was published in 1940. I’m not sure where my parents got it, possibly from one of my grandparents or from a thrift store or rummage sale. I have fond memories of sitting at the kitchen table playing the game and laughing hysterically– there was a story in a booklet and you’d draw cards with random funny phrases on it to complete the sentences.

Both Mad Libs and the Fibber McGee game showed me how wonderfully fun, weird, and inappropriate words can be.

And so, when thinking of writing a special Tea’s Weird Week Christmas story, I decided to write a parody of A Christmas Carol with Mad Libs-style blanks. I posted my categories of word needs– some broad like “random noun,” other specific like “ridiculous word that starts with a G” to the Tea’s Weird Week Facebook group, and the members delivered. The blanks they filled in are in bold— sometimes answers paired well with each other and I used two or more. I think this story is both a great play on a Christmas classic and the ridiculousness of the Trump administration. This was really a lot of fun, and I hope this becomes a Tea’s Weird Week tradition. There has been a lot of heavy news this year, so being able to cut loose with some stupid good fun was a great way to begin a wrap on my 2020 writing (next week’s column is my last until January.)

Oh, and a warning– this story contains profanity. Lots of strange, strange profanity.

Trump’s Loser Christmas Carol

The scene is a snowy Christmas Eve in Washington DC, in the year 2020. Trump, as usual, is sitting in the Oval Office, retweeting every conspiracy theory he can find. But what follows next will be a Christmas story for our times.

Act I

“Stephen, come in here as fast as a narwhal with it’s ankle on fire,” Donald Trump called out to the hallway outside the oval office. 
“You wanted to see me, sir?” Stephen Miller said, peeking into the doorway.
“Stephen, how many times have I told you, take off that ass wipe mask, you rat bastard.”
“Yes sir, Mr.Trump,” Miller said, removing his Klan hood. 
“Now what do you think of my Christmas Eve tweet– Merry-We-Won-The-War-On-Christmas, to all my favorite lemmings!” Trump said, waving his hands like a slow loris playing a glockenspiel
“What happened to my slogan idea, ‘Happy Buttplug Day, buddy?’” Miller pouted.
“Stephen, does it look like I have a broccoli tapdancing on my head? That’s the worst idea I ever heard. You’re fired! Get out and take this dollhouse with you, Trump said, pointing at the object on his desk. 
Miller hung his head. “Yes sir,” he said as he headed out the door. 

Macaroni head! Well, I’ll be greased n’ fried,” Trump growled. “I’m surrounded by a clown car of shit-flinging monkeys.”

Trump got up and walked down the hall toward the residency, admiring Melania’s decorations. This year she had really outdone herself, hanging roosters and lasers upside-down from the ceiling, stringing toilets and stethoscopes on the wall, while statues of Bruce Wayne holding Uranus frolicked in a fountain of pus. Beautiful!

“Finally, just me and FOX,” Trump said as he sat down in front of the TV with a big bowl of fried lutefisk and limberger cheese smothered in a garbage water sauce. 

“Good evening, it’s me, Sean Hannity, a man with the face of a flea, who is secretly a waterfall in disguise,” Hannity told the camera as the TV clicked on. “Later we’re going to talk about the radical left’s new plan to let smartwatches marry virgins, but first we’re getting a report that the Ghost of Richard Nixon claims President Trump will be visited by 3 ghosts this evening. Jerk faces! Ooh, that scares me more than a poopy pants meanie.”

Trump whipped out his phone and immediately began a tweet: “Ghosts? Sounds like a bunch of thumb-head losers! Go haunt someone else! Sad!” He suddenly felt a wave of post-COVID tiredness flow over him, so he leaned his head back, gently humming “WAP” by Cardi B (feat. Megan thee Stallion) as he drifted into sleep.

Act II

Trump felt a cold chill and blinked awake, squinting his eyes at an apparition floating in front of him. “Herman Cain, is that you? I thought you croaked off from that China flu!” 

“Truuuump. I’m here to warn you about your ways!” The Ghost of Cain moaned, shaking the soups and witches chained around him. 
“Bah, chucklefuck! You are a fake ghost, you know that?” Trump said angrily. “You may be an undigested bit of chocolate malt, a blot of chalupa, a crumb of chicken fries, a fragment of underdone McRibs. There’s more of secret sauce than grave about you, you hooplehead.”
“Wow, that’s maybe the most literary thing you’ve said in years,” Cain muttered. “Follow me, Trump so I can take you back through history…all the way back to March.” 

Trump felt himself tumbling through a void, ass over tit, and he screamed “fuckstick!” until he landed with a thud on his feet, standing next to the Ghost of Cain. 

“You loser ghost, we’re in the Oval Office! We could’ve just walked down the hall!” 
“Ah, but we also traveled through time,” Ghost of Cain said, holding up a finger peevishly. 
“Oh yeah, there’s past me! Hey handsome,” Trump said, trying to wave to his past self. Past Trump was leaning on his elbows on the desk and rubbing a macaroni through his hair while talking to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was standing in front of him.

“So you’re saying this virus gets absorbed through your spleen? Really?” Past Trump asked Fauci. “People got to walk around covering that up now?”
“Uhh. Well, sir, perhaps we can talk about anatomy…”
“Boring!” Past Trump said. Present Trump gave a thumbs up. “This science stuff is easy. We’ll just get people to take two Comets, drink a little Mr. Clean, and salute a patriotic brothel in the morning. Everything will be fine.” 
“Sir, I think it’s important that you encourage social distancing…” Fauci shrugged.

“You didn’t listen to him…and I died!” Ghost of Cain told Trump, pointing at him in accusation. 
“Yeah, yeah. Says you. You look pretty alive to me, I tell you. Get me out of here,” Trump scoffed. “And by the way, you’re fired.”

Act III

“What a dumb waste of time,” Trump said, settling back in his chair and grabbing the TV remote. “Time to watch more FOX. Oh look, my buddy Rudy is on,” he said, as an image of Rudy Giuliani appeared on the screen. He turned and stared wide-eyed at Trump, then lifted his arms out of the screen and crawled out like that creepy girl in The Ring

“Donnie! It’s me, Donald, the Ghost of Christmas Present!” Giuliani gasped as he crawled toward him.
“Rudy, I didn’t know you were dead! And what the hell is that crap dripping down your face? It looks like toddler snot.” 
“That’s my secret Cap, I’m always a little dead!” The Ghost of Giuliani said, wiggling his fingers at him. “That’s why they call me Rudy “Garfunkel Gumption” Giuliani! C’mon, let’s get fuckin’ spooky!” 

Trump found himself floating at the top of a room next to the Ghost of Giuliani. Below were tables filled with  people sorting and counting ballots and snacking on Rocky Mountain oysters

“Look at them– hard at working finding evidence of voter fraud! Like a team of well oiled alley cats!” Trump said, rubbing his toenail in glee.
“Actually, Donald that’s the big problem, presently, we got nothin’! Nothin’! They counted all these ballots and Biden gained votes!”  
“Really, Rudy? Well why don’t you go back to Four Seasons Total Landscaping and tell everyone about it and shove a rototiller in your armpit while you’re there.” 
“Donald, come on, I already got problems! I got caught on tape trying to pull a wrench and a skeleton out of my pants!”
“You’re fired, Rudy. Get me out of here.” 

Act IV

“Aren’t there supposed to be three of these dingbat ghosts? Where’s the third? Waste of time!” Trump said as he paced in his room. The door slowly squeaked open and he saw a glowing figure who stepped forward. It was a ghostly vision of his son, Donnie Jr., dressed in hunting attire, with a huge dead crustacean slung over his shoulders. 

“Daddy, look what I killed! I shot it in an expedition to the DMV.” 

“That’s great Donnie. Sadly, though, I think it also killed you and you’re the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. But that’s great, bet you can get some great ratings for that. So tell me about the future– do I win again in 2024? Is my face on Mount Rushmore?”
“No, dad.” 
“Well then, who is president– you or Ivanka? But most important, me– where is me?”
The Ghost of Donnie Jr. sighed sadly. “I’ll just show you.” 

They materialized in a dim hallway. Sad music bounced off the concrete walls. 
“What the hell is this place, Donnie Jr.?” 
The Ghost of Donnie Jr. got goosebumps, clenched, peed his pants, then pointed down the hall. “It’s prison, dad.”

Trump squinted at a cell and saw himself sitting in an orange jumpsuit, a single strand of hair covering his bowling ball-like head, wailing away on something in his hands. 
“What is that in my mouth, a horseradish?” 
“It’s a harmonica, dad. You’ve got nothing to do in here but learn the 12-bar blues. Me, Eric, and Ivanka get sent up, too, and we play the keytar, kalimba, and maracas in the Trump Family Jail Band. We score a minor hit with our song ‘I Traded a Pardon for a Bucket of Hawaiian Pizza.’” 

Trump frowned. “Pinche cabaron! Tell me, son– are these shadows of things that are like, a done deal or just, you know, like a fake news thing?”
“Sorry, dad.” 
“I hate you, Donnie Jr. I always have, you knuckle-sucking cretin. You’re fired.” 
“I hate you, too, you human paraquat,” Donnie Jr. said, putting a ghostly arm around Trump. “Spoilers–I’ll bring you a harmonica, dad,” Donnie Jr. replied as they disappeared into the ether. 

Act V

Trump materialized standing in front of his TV. Standing next to him was the Ghost of Richard Nixon. 

“Wow, my hero Tricky Dick Nixon. You look just like the dipshit I always thought you were.”
“Did you learn your lesson, Krusty the Clown? Ready to change your ways?” Ghost of Nixon asked.
“Are you kidding me, Jojo the Klownzilla?” Trump smirked. Ghost of Nixon raised his eyebrow at him as Trump put his arm around him and they walked toward the window together. “I’d rather shove a rabid donkey down my pants than learn any stupid lesson.” 

Trump spotted a young boy in a MAGA hat running by in the snow and threw open the window. 

“You there! What day is it today? 
“Today, sir?” The Boy replied. “Why, it’s Christmas Day, you trash!” 

“Amazing. Fantastic. Tell you what. Bill me for 25 cents, then run down the street, go to every  law office in town and get every lawyer you can find. We’re going to sue everyone– bigly– Charles Dickens, Santa Claus, Krampus, Frosty, Clarence, Ralphie, George Bailey, Tiny Tim, Emmet the Otter, the Elf on a Shelf, and all the readers of Tea’s Weird Week.

“Really? On Christmas?” Ghost of Nixon said, taken aback by his brazen villainy. 

“Abso-fucking-lutely,” Trump replied, squeezing a slight smile. “Merry We-Won-the-War-on-Christmas, lick my hole, and to all a good night!”

The End

My books are available wherever books are sold and make great holiday gifts for the lovable weirdos in your family. You can get signed copies of my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness from my friends at Lion’s Tooth (who, CONGRATS, are opening a brick and mortar store here in Milwaukee!) here: https://lionstoothmke.square.site/product/American_Madness_product/623

You can get signed copies of my other four books at my Square store here: https://milwaukee-para-con.square.site/

Tea’s Weird Week: Zorth, I Will Kick Your Hairy Ass (a Story of Bigfoot and QAnon)

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Back in April I wrote a column titled “I got my own conspiracy theory, which is that the world is becoming 24 more times batshit crazy every day.” It’s a theory I still stand by.

While doing the media and virtual appearance rounds for my book American Madness this fall, people asked what the wildest or craziest conspiracy I encountered was. That was a moving goal post, I’d reply, every time I thought I’d found the most outlandish theory I’d discover that nope, the rabbit hole keeps going. Reptilians, Flat Earth theory, and Pizzagate were all thought to be the peak while working on the book, but the ruthless onslaught of 2020 conspiracies loomed ahead.

Before I continue on, let me preference the rest of this column by saying I’ve met many Bigfooters (people who research and investigate Bigfoot sightings) over the years. While working on my book Monster Hunters, I had a fun and wild adventure exploring the woods of Michigan with Bigfooter Jim Sherman of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO). I’ve met several since. Bigfooters range in personality from very cool, very interesting people (which thankfully describes all the ones I’ve met) to total assholes to somewhere between. But now I’m sad to report that the joy of Bigfooting, or at least a small corner of it, has been struck by the foul cancer of QAnon.

So, it’s late at night, I should be asleep, but I’m doomscrolling Facebook when I stumble across a video titled “Zorth Says That President Trump Wins in the End” in a group I’m apparently a member of called Team Squatchin USA. This group has over 14,000 members.

There are two Kruloses in my head. One says do not watch this damn video, go to bed and the other says do it. watch this damn video. Do it.

I watched it.

Here’s what I learned:

– A man named Dr. Matthew A. Johnson (aka “Dr. J”) says that he is “the 13,” an ambassador to humanity for a council of 12 Xanue (aka Bigfoot Forest People, Sasquatch, etc.) and communicates mostly with the head of council, Zorth, through telepathy.

-Zorth has been telling Dr. J repeatedly that “in the end, Trump wins” and that Zorth has “adamantly insisted” that Dr. J share this message with the world (via YouTube). Here’s a message from Dr. J to the Team Squatchin USA group:

ZORTH is adamant about me passing on the following message that he shared with me a week ago: The Xanue are able to see into the future via a limited manner via multiple possible time lines. ZORTH wants everyone to know that in the majority of the possible time lines, President Trump wins his reelection bid. I DID NOT want to post this but ZORTH strongly insisted that I post it now.

Heavy is the head that wears Zorth’s will.

-Like Trump, Dr. J apparently has no concept of how the vote count happened and the split between in-person (which leaned Trump and were counted first) and mail-in/early voting (which leaned Biden and were counted later). “All of a sudden they miraculously find all these votes overnight.” Incorrect.

-In one of several Xanue/ Trump endorsement videos Dr. J shows footage of a popular QAnon propaganda “documentary” titled Q- The Plan to Save the World. Many of Dr. J’s posts parrot election fraud conspiracy language. QAnon is going to be facing an identity crisis and they, much like Trump himself, are currently in the “denial” phase.


– Is this guy for real? Yes, I’m afraid so. And judging by the many pro-Trump, pro-Zorth comments on Johnson’s videos on Facebook and YouTube, so are his followers. Why on earth would they believe such a shaggy Sasquatch story? Because Dr. J has “done his own research” and written two self-published books and created a whole bunch of YouTube videos. What more evidence do you need?

Look, researching and investigating Bigfoot is one thing. Saying that a wizened council of Bigfoots endorsing an awful person who lost the election and is in a delusional downward spiral about it is another. We need to fight back against conspiracies about the pandemic, civil unrest, and election fraud.

Artist’s depiction of Zorth.

Biden won the election and Trump is attempting a coup like a fascist banana republic wannabe dictator. There is no credible evidence of election fraud. Trump’s hollow lawsuits are all being shut down due to lack of evidence. The only reason Trump won’t concede is ego alone.

Here’s something I haven’t revealed until this column– yes, it’s true, I also have the ability to communicate telepathically with the Sasquatch– prove that I can’t. I happen to be in contact with a rival council of 12 known as the Xerox and their spokesquatch, Zaarg.

And…oh my, here it is. Zaarg says they have an urgent message I must relay. An important message. Zaarg says:

Zorth, I will kick ya hairy arse, ya traitor. Y’ll look like a mangy bearskin roog when I’m done with ya, boy-o, mark me foocking words. [Zaarg is also an Irish bare-knuckle boxer] I will take on all 12 of ya Xanue foocks with one hand tied behind me back, ya foocking liars. Ya deserve to have yer arses shaved and painted orange like the Trump baboons ya are, make no mistake!

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!


I’m a candidate for Milwaukee author in the Shepherd Express annual best of. You can read the rules and vote here: shepherdexpress.com/best-of-milwaukee/2020

My book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness is out now. It explores a wide range of conspiracies, (but doesn’t explore the Bigfoot-Q connection.)
You can find it on Bookshop.org here: https://bookshop.org/books/american-madness-the-story-of-the-phantom-patriot-and-how-conspiracy-theories-hijacked-american-consciousness/9781627310963

Tea’s Weird Week: The Election Day Hangover That Won’t Quit

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Hello from Battleground Wisconsin. What a fucking week! As I mentioned on Facebook, I ran myself pretty hard all of October– promoting my book American Madness, a Milwaukee Paranormal Conference, socially distanced ghost tours, freelance writing, plotting, planning. I was busy and it was great, but by Election Day I was ready to wrap up in blankets, drink a lot of whiskey, and see where this batshit crazy year would take us next. And what a day to drink copious amounts of whiskey it was! As of this writing, nothing is official yet and in 2020 anything can happen, but here’s my early takeaways from the election.

The Good: It looks like Trump will be voted out of office–unless he pulls off some crazy dirty trick (and we know if nothing else, he’s masterful at dirty tricks). And of course angels might intervene. That’s the case Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White makes here:

Trump out of office is good news, a start, but there’s is a lot of damage to repair. We’ll talk about that in a moment. First, more good news– progressive candidates representing marginalized people won campaigns across the country. These include Cori Bush, the first black woman to represent Missouri in the House, and the reelection of all 4 members of “The Squad.” Several LGBT candidates made historic victories, including Sarah McBride of Delaware, the first transgender state senator, and Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, the first gay latinx/black congressmen.

The Bad: 68,943,879 (and counting) million people voted for Trump. Here in my home, Wisconsin Biden won 1,632,542 to Trump’s 1,610,007 (as of this writing), less than 20,000 votes. I just can’t wrap my head around this. Anything less than Trump losing in a major landslide is a failure of our society, in my opinion.

The aftereffect of Trump will be long-lasting– you’ll see some immediate examples when we get to “The Ugly” section of this post. The Trump presidency will be studied for generations. Most puzzling will be how such a large population stuck to this terrible person so loyally and so willingly voted against their own interests. Why did 69 million Americans vote for a racist, sexist, conspiracy theorist conman reality star goof? After everything that happened over the last four years, how can they still see him in a positive light? I will never understand.

Here’s what I mean, visualized. This is Trump supporter Jon McNaughton’s latest masterpiece, “2020 Ride.” I wrote about McNaughton’s art in a column from February titled “Laughing My Ass Off at These Bonkers Trump Paintings.” Here McNaughton says he is showing Trump as a cowboy hero, successfully taming all of the issues of 2020.

I don’t see that in this painting, though. I see a sad, hateful man dressed like a clown, riding a beast that he himself created in the sunset of his presidency. But I guess art is subjective.

“2020 Ride,” by Jon McNaughton. If this was a real scene, every bone in Trump’s body would be broken.

The cognitive dissonance in Trump supporters is just staggering. As just one example, compare Pro-Trumpers at a polling station in Detroit chanting “stop the vote!” while Pro-Trumpers in Phoenix are chanting “count the vote!”

Well, which is it? It depends, of course, on what favors Trump, democracy be damned. Conspiracy theories about election fraud, stoked by Trump himself, are in full swing. No, there isn’t hundreds of thousands of dead people voting. That’s easily fact checked: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/11/04/fact-check-no-fraud-wisconsin-overnight-vote-spike/6167188002/

Trumpers storm an election center in Detroit. AP Photo: Carlos Osorio

The Ugly: Along with new progressive candidates, we also elected the fringest of the fringe right-wingers, like QAnon believers. The most major of these is Marjorie Greene, a QAnon believer from Georgia who won a House seat. I wrote more about her here: “Well, it Happened-Meet Your First QAnon Represenative.”

Marjorie Greene is a QAnon believer and House representative from Georgia.

But she wasn’t alone– Lauren Boebert also won a House seat in Colorado. Boebert has made comments supporting QAnon in the past, saying QAnon was “motivating and encouraging and bringing people together, stronger,” but has since disavowed the conspiracy cult. She owns a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, called Shooters Grill, where the staff are encouraged to open-carry.

Another QAnon believer who ran successfully is MMA fighter Tito Ortiz, who won a seat on Huntington Beach, California’s City Council. Ortiz sold QAnon themed athletic wear on his website and ran on the campaign slogan “Make Huntington Beach Safe Again.” MMA site Bloody Elbow has the disturbing details here: https://www.bloodyelbow.com/2020/11/4/21549515/ufc-pioneer-qanon-supporter-tito-ortiz-elected-huntington-beach-city-council-mma-politics

Idiocracy: Tito Ortiz wearing a “Where We Go One, We Go All” QAnon tank top. Dare I say future President Ortiz?

Also heading to Congress is Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina. He’s disavowed QAnon, but takes talking points from their playbook, talking about a cabal of sex slave traffickers. As the Charlotte Observer notes:

“Cawthorn’s rise to prominence has already been mired in scandal, as he’s faced accusations of ties to white supremacy, sexual misconduct, racism and lying about his record.” 

Even if Trump is gone, an orange stain will remain.

Read more about how we got to this crazy time in my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness.

* I discussed American Madness on the CripesCast, with the very funny Charlie Berens (Manitowoc Minute): https://cripescast.podbean.com/e/episode-19-tea-krulos
* I joined the guys on Lumpen Radio’s Eye 94 book show, which includes some American Madness excerpts read by Shanna Van Volt, giving it a nice conspiracy jazz lounge tone: https://www.mixcloud.com/lumpenradio/eye-94-10-29-2020-tea-kroulos-conspiracies-and-qanon/
* I was part of a written roundtable discussion on misinformation for LitHub with authors Renata Salecl and Jonathan Berman. You can read it here: https://lithub.com/the-misinformation-superhighway-a-roundtable-on-the-rise-of-the-great-american-conspiracy/

Tea’s Weird Week: Happy (Virtual) Halloween!

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This has been a busy week for me (as you can see by this week’s “Please Clap Dept.”) with writing, podcast interviews, ghost tours, etc. October is always the busiest month for me and especially the last week of the month, so I’m mostly just sharing Halloweeny links in this column.

First off, here’s a column I wrote last October, “October is Mad Ghost Boo Biz,” and last week’s column, “I Love Those Old Monster Movies,” both good reading on my eerie life.

Halloween, like everything else, is pretty much cancelled this year– it sucks, I know. I’m going to celebrate by watching some of those old monster movies, hopefully going for a walk in Forest Home Cemetery, leading ghost tours for American Ghost Walks, and I made a play list of creepy cool music– 101 songs (plus a reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of Red Death” by Basil Rathbone!) That’s 6 and a half hours worth of music for your stay-at-home Halloween party. I tried to get a good mix of classics, obscure, and a few bands I am friends or acquainted with. You can listen on Spotify here:
Tea’s Weird Week: 101 Songs of Halloween Party

Have a Happy Halloween, and of course VOTE. This election is not just about the McDonald Trump, but the local elections. Check your ballots– is someone who is a QAnon supporter on it? What about someone from the III%er militia or one of the Proud Boys or someone dangerous and terrible like Laura Loomer? There’s a lot of extremist candidates on ballots this year– vote the bastards out!

Please Clap Dept.: Busy week, I had a lot of great media opportunities:

* I was on the CripesCast, with the very funny Charlie Berens (Manitowoc Minute): https://cripescast.podbean.com/e/episode-19-tea-krulos
* I joined the guys on Lumpen Radio’s Eye 94 book show, includes some American Madness excerpts read by Shanna Van Volt, giving it a nice conspiracy jazz lounge tone: https://www.mixcloud.com/lumpenradio/eye-94-10-29-2020-tea-kroulos-conspiracies-and-qanon/
* I was part of a written roundtable discussion on misinformation for LitHub with authors Renata Salecl and Jonathan Berman. You can read it here: https://lithub.com/the-misinformation-superhighway-a-roundtable-on-the-rise-of-the-great-american-conspiracy/
* Last, I’ve never been on a baseball podcast before, but was glad to talk to Hall of Very Good to talk about the Pfister Hotel, where many MLB players have been haunted by ghosts: https://hallofverygood.libsyn.com/episode-255-tea-krulos

Buy my books American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness and a special Halloween treat, Wisconsin Legends & Lore.

Tea’s Weird Week: I Love Those Old Monster Movies

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I got the idea for this week’s column from the Vice Presidential debate. One of the star performances was not from Mike Pence or Kamala Harris, but the housefly that landed and sat on Pence’s head. I got some much needed laughs when I looked to social media and found that my feeds had been filled with fly memes. I saw a few people posting references to David Cronenberg’s 1986 film The Fly (starring Jeff Goldblum) but I thought I would join in by sharing an image from one of my favorites, the classic 1958 Fly, which featured the great Vincent Price in the cast.

The Fly (1958)

This classic film and others from this era have a dear place in my heart, because I grew up on them. You see, my parents were very strict about what I could watch as a kid. I was their firstborn, they were very religous and they wanted to protect me from a 1980s world gone made, from things controversial or provocative, from hearing words like “fucknut” or seeing sex parts. My options were limited, mostly to cinema pre-1970, give or take, or Disney films.

As such, as other kids were developing screen idols in 80s celebrities, mine were the likes of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney, Basil Rathbone, Vincent Price, and all of their creepy peers.

My favorites were the classic Universal stuff like Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Wolfman, Godzilla movies, and other classic monster and sci-fi like The Blob, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and many more. If it’s black and white and features monsters, aliens, ghosts, etc., chances are I’ve seen it.

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

In addition to horror and sci-fi, I also watched a lot of old comedy (the Marx Brothers, Abbot and Costello) and mystery and noir (I especially liked Humphrey Bogart and anything by Hitchcock). At the time it was somewhat frustrating because on the playground, the guys would tell me how they had witnessed actual exposed boobs in movies like Porky’s or had seen someone cut in half with a chainsaw in a Friday the 13th movie and I’d be like…uh, yeah but have you dudes seen King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)?

The Wolfman (1941)

My parents were strict even about seeing PG movies when I was younger. If I really wanted to see a movie, like say, Ghostbusters, or Gremlins, and lobbied them succesfully, I would wait until it was out on video, they would watch it by themselves, then the next night I could watch it with them but they would fast-forward through scenes with swear words of anything suggestive.

That means I wouldn’t get lines like “yes sir, it’s true. This man has no dick,” from Ghostbusters until years later, when I re-watched with friends.

Night of the Living Dead, 1968

Looking back on it, I’m glad though– I feel like I probably got at least a couple of college film history classes in before I even turned 14. And to me, Halloween will always mean old black and white monster movies. What’s your favorite classic horror/sci-fi? Share in the comments!

Godzilla 1954

You can buy my book American Madness from Lion’s Tooth, Quimby’s, Bookshop.org and wherever books are sold. I had the great pleasure this week to talk about the book with Quimby’s Bookstore. We had fun talking about the book and played some conspiracy trivia–see how well you would have fared! You can catch it here:


And just in time for Halloween, you can get signed copies of my book Wisconsin Legends & Lore from the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference Square shop: https://milwaukee-para-con.square.site/product/wisconsin-legends-lore-by-tea-krulos-signed-and-inscribed-/44?cs=true

Tea’s Weird Week: Crazy Uncle Trump: “I don’t know that, and neither do you”

I was really hoping to be moving toward writing about Halloweeny shit instead of conspiracy shit this week, but NO. Let me rephrase that: NOOOOOOOOOOOO. Trump had a town hall thing last night (he refused a virtual debate, leading to rival Trump and Biden town halls) and I didn’t think he could possibly appear to be more of a dangerous idiot than he did at the last debate, but welcome to 2020 where everything you know is wrong and the hellmouth continues to open! It was a great night for deranged conspiracies and a bad night for…well, the entire planet, really.

To recap:

QAnon: When asked about QAnon, Trump did his usual “deny but don’t reject” dance. You might recall this from the debate where Trump refused to denounce white supremacy, then gave a perceived shout out to the Proud Boys, then claimed he “didn’t know” who the Proud Boys were. Moderator Savannah Guthrie, of NBC News, explained what QAnon was in a nutshell– the belief in a Democrat satanic pedophile ring (she didn’t mention their idea that Democrats get high on adrenochrome, though) and asked Trump if he would denounce them. The response:

Trump: I know nothing about QAnon.
Guthrie: I just told you.

Trump: You told me, but what you say doesn’t necessarily make it fact, I hate to say that. I know nothing about it, I do know they are very much against pedophilia, they fight it very hard, but I know nothing about it.
Guthrie: They believe it is a satanic cult run by the DNC!

Trump: [rambles about how vicious Antifa is]…I just don’t know about QAnon.
Guthrie: You do know!

Trump: I don’t know!…Let me tell you, what I do hear about it is they are very strongly against pedophilia, and I agree with that.
Guthrie: Ok, but there’s not a satanic pedophile–
Trump: I know nothing about that
Guthrie: You know nothing about that?!
Trump: No, I have know idea and neither do you know that [sic].

Trump still doesn’t know who QAnon is! Well, he knows they fight pedophilia “very hard.” That’s funny because, as I noted in a previous column Trump said at an August 20th press conference that he didn’t know who QAnon was other than “I understand they like me very much.”

It’s been almost 2 months– you couldn’t get an intern to hop on Google to see what all this bullshit was about? The real answer is that Trump is a liar– he very well knows who QAnon is and a cult devoted to him is appealing to his massive ego.

The “Biden Killed Seal Team 6 Theory”: This week Trump retweeted a QAnon account twice that had posted a baseless theory that the Navy SEAL 6 team mistakenly killed Osama Bin Laden’s body double in 2011 and rather than say “oops,” Obama and Biden had the whole team assassinated to cover up the mistake. Yes, THIS IS FUCKING CRAZY. It led to this beautiful town hall exchange, when Guthrie brought it up:

Trump: That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody and that was a retweet. I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don’t take a position.
Guthrie: I don’t get that. You’re the president. You’re not someone’s crazy uncle who can retweet whatever.

Thank you, Savannah Guthrie, for doing your job and calling Trump out and not letting him try to steamroll you.

Obamagate/Voter Fraud: Trump mentions his Obamagate theory and talks about voter fraud.

Trump:”When I see thousands of ballots dumped in a garbage can and they happen to have my name on it, I’m not happy about it.”
Guthrie: There is in fact no evidence of widespread fraud and you are sowing doubt in our democracy.
When Guthrie added that the FBI director noted their was no evidence of mass voter fraud, Trump replied, “Oh really, then he’s not doing a very good job.”

What else– oh yeah, he refused to answer whether he tested for COVID the day of the debate, he misrepresented a study, saying 85% of people who get COVID were wearing masks (FALSE), said he’s second only to Lincoln in helping African-Americans and on and on blah blah bullshit.

FAKE NEWS! But wait, there’s more! Early this morning, Trump tweeted out a post from the Babylon Bee, a satirical site that’s a wannabe version of The Onion. The post said Twitter had shut down to slow the spread of negative news. “Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night,” Trump tweeted.

Well, he’s right– this has never, ever, neverever been done in history. If you are voting for Trump, there is nothing I can say to you, you are too far gone. I just hope you put some serious thought into where your own mind and soul are.

And if you don’t think conspiracy thinking is dangerous, I invite you to read two pieces I wrote this week.

Richard McCaslin: An Obituary,” is about a person I met who descended into conspiracy theory. As the title suggests, he died. I wrote about him in my book American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness.

A Militia of Phantom Patriots” discusses how conspiracy theory was a factor in the Wolverine Watchmen militia terrorists and their plan to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (and possibly Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, as we now know).

My book American Madness is a guide to Conspiracyland (buy it at Bookshop.org or wherever books are sold). Speaking of crazy uncles (I am one, myself!) I talked with the guys on the Strange Uncles podcast about my book to kick off their fourth season. They say: “American Madness is probably one of the best books we’ve read in awhile…highly recommended.” Thanks, Uncles! You can listen here: https://strangeuncles.podbean.com/e/strange-uncles-s4e1-interview-with-american-madness-author-tea-krulos/

Also, I’m doing a virtual event with the fantastic Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago on this Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30pm. I’ll be talking American Madness and doing some conspiracy theory trivia for some cool prizes. It’s free and streaming live on their YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/QuimbysBookstore
Check out the fantastic prizes HERE.

Tea’s Weird Week: Fall 2020 Reading List (Non-Fiction)

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It’s been awhile since I posted a reading list (last one was in January) so I’m taking a break from conspiracy theory this week to talk about 3 titles I’ve read recently and 3 I hope to read soon, all non-fiction titles. Any time is a great time to read, but I suppose I have a particularly romantic vision of reading in fall. Tomorrow is my birthday– I don’t have any strange birthday adventures planned, but I do plan on reading and relaxing a bit. Click on the highlighted titles below to find links to them at Bookshop.org.

Read it, loved it

The Rise of Real-life Superheroes (And The Fall of Everything Else) by Peter Nowak

When I first heard about this book, I was a bit like “well, been there, done that,” as I wrote a book about Real-Life Superheroes in 2013 titled Heroes in the Night. I’m glad I read the book– Nowak does a first rate job telling this story. There’s some familiar names and history to those who know RLSH, but Nowak explored some fresh angles as well. I really enjoyed reading about a Superman tulpa, African interpretations of superheroes, and really great material on the Guardian Angels, as well as reading about teams I never got around to meeting.

Nowak presents an engaging book that explores comic book (and vigilante) history and ends up on street level with the Real-Life Superheroes in San Diego, Chicago, Orlando and beyond. It’s an accurate portrait of a fascinating, colorful, and timely subculture.

Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism by Seyward Darby

In American Madness, I wrote about the history and evolution of conspiracy theory, using a man named Richard McCaslin’s life story to talk about these themes. Darby has written an excellent book that tells the story of three women and their lives in the white power/ Alt-Right movements, and by extension a history and examination of who these people are. I read the entire book with much interest– it moves along without getting bogged down but is also informative. It’s frightening and disturbing– but it’s something we need to be informed on.

Juggalo: Insane Clown Posse and the World They Made by Steve Miller

Someday you’ll find out why I’m reading up on Juggalos, but for now I’ll just say that this is a good portrait of the Insane Clown Posse and their following, and very much my style– honest but not condescending, a great story of outsiders banding together. Will you be “down with the clown” after the book? Maybe.

Throw on the “To-Read” Pile

Earth A.D. The Poisoning of the American Landscape and the Communities That Fought Back by Michael Lee Nirenberg

One reason I was thrilled to have American Madness published with Feral House is that all of the books in their catalog are interesting, if not completely fascinating. Nirenberg’s book, about citizens that live in toxic zones fighting back, came out around the same time as mine and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President, from Washington to Trump by Edwin L. Battistella

Edwin interviewed me for his website, Literary Ashland and after I was introduced to him I found he had written this book which looks like a fun history of insulting Presidents, including that polyester cockwomble bawbag fucknugget leather-faced shit-tobbaganist Trump (those insults were all lifted from Scottish Twitter, btw)

Sinister Swamps: Monsters and Mysteries from the Mire by Lyle Blackburn

Blackburn narrated my book trailer for American Madness (you can see it at the end of this post) and is just a cool guy– he’s in a hellbilly band called Ghoultown, narrates documentaries for Small Town Monsters, and has authored several books about cryptozoology cases of the south– I’ve read his books on the Beast of Boggy Creek and the Bishopville Lizard Man, which were both great, so I’m looking forward to Sinister Swamps. You can find it on his website: lyleblackburn.com

Oh yeah, please do read my book, too: American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness has been getting great reviews and is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop.org