The following essay will be included in THE BOOK OF WEIRDO (a ridiculously number of years in the making) to be published in 2017 by Last Gasp. It includes the testimonials and recollections of a majority of the contributors to Robert Crumb‘s 1980’s/early ’90’s comics anthology, WEIRDO, as well as reprinting a number of stories. The three editors — R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, and Aline Kominsky-Crumb — are interviewed, also included are features on many different aspects of that important magazine, as well as a thorough and comprehensive history. – Jon B Cooke, author

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What Makes Luna Tick? or How I got to Weirdo. 
By Elizabeth Fiend (the artist formerly known as Luna Ticks)

My first comic was three frames. A cop says “nice ass” to a punk. She kicks him in the groin; he says “I won’t be able to get it up for a week.” She reaches into her leather; pulls a gun; shoots him, remarking “You’ll never get it up again.” A few months later Mumia Abu-Jamal was arrested and charged with killing police officer William Faulkner. Philly 1981, was a time and place where a cop could be threatening to arrest you and checking out your legs — at the same time.

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Employment for punks was scarce and I spent a lot of time drawing. I took a pen name, Luna Ticks, and named my comic strip The Young and The Frustrated: A Continuing Strip Tease. I distributing Xerox’s at punk shows. I gauged success by how many sheets littered the ground at the end of the show – many.

My housemates were a dwarf, a black woman, a gay Mexican American, and the son of a police chief, along with my husband. The cop’s son stole our rent money and we were evicted. At times like this there’s only one thing to do. We started a band.

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In the punk sea of non-conformity we were the weirdos. Five color hair; a silver space suit; pink floral over-top polka dots. We had a big presence. We walked everywhere because we had no money, paying for a bus would have been an extravagance that would never have occurred to us. Our style was so new and so alienating, once a man jumped out of his car in the middle of an intersection and start beating on us. A reporter described my appearance as having “both a sense of atmosphere, the bizarre and an inexplicable range of covertness.”

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Welcome to the re-branding 
of Big Tea Party as
SLAW.me

ABOUT: SLAW me is a how-to for real people trying to survive in a really stupid world. We produce edge-u-cational videos for television, the internet, public screenings, the classroom and home use. We also write informational articles, develop delicious and healthy recipes, play in our gardens, take lots of still photos and create music! (more)

How The Tea Party ruined Big Tea Party, 
or how Big Tea Party became SLAW.me: 
Unfortunately, there was another Tea Party 
lurking in the background (more)

About Elizabeth Fiend: Elizabeth Fiend is an educator, filmmaker, author, musician and artist (more)

About Valerie Keller:  Valerie Keller has been editing films and videos since 1989, and creating her own delightfully oddball work for the past several years (more) 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Ordering from Garden Catalogs

Article and Photos by ELIZABETH FIEND

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Although there’s still a chill in the air and a bit of winter to come, if you want to do a garden this year, start now. That’s right. The key to gardening is to be on top of everything. Gardening is based around the weather and the weather waits for no man — or woman.

You probably have a growing mound of garden catalogs by now. A few arrive in my mailbox every day.

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Overwhelming! If you don’t have catalogs, try buying a mail-order plant ONE time, and you’ll be flooded with garden catalogs for the rest of your life.

What I do is just thin out from the very beginning. If you try to look through every single catalog, you’ll be paralyzed by too many options. So you must weed out from the start.

Divide the catalogs into categories like flowers, seeds, landscaping, accessories. I grow a lot of soft fruit, so I set aside catalogs that sell fruit as well.

After you’ve divided the catalogs into categories, start with the Buy Local philosophy. Sure, buying local helps dollars grow in your own neighborhood economy, but there’s another reason why this is a good idea. Buying a plant from a nursery located in an area that has the same ecology as where you plan to plant the plant is some extra insurance that it will grow happily in your yard. Yes, that plant from the nursery in New Mexico is gorgeous but face it, it’s just not going to take root around here even if the phrase “hardy enough for colder climates” is tossed about in the catalog’s description.

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I live in Philadelphia and there are some big nurseries right here in my state. You can’t get much more local than that. Plus by buying local, you’ll be kinder to the environment by saving fossil fuel with a shorter transport to your garden. There is one major downside to the buy local thing when it comes to mail order. The Feds. When you make a snail mail or Internet purchase from a company located in your home state, yikes, you’re going to be charged sales tax. Still, I do it.

Of course, not all the plants I desire can be obtained from Pennsylvania nurseries. So I move out geographically, just not too far.  I also make a political decision and NEVER buy from a company associated with evil GMO company Monsanto. Instead I look for companies that have good work conditions, and care for the environment. Check out this article from the Organic Consumers Association for more info.

You know about the hardiness zones right?

The hardiness zone, or just zone, was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture. Zones are based on the average annual minimum temperature over a five-year span. Numbers are assigned and graphed, they make undulating bands across the map, much like you see on a weather forecast map. Zone 1 is the coldest, here in Pennsylvania, we’re Zone 6. (Yeah, the zone thing is starting to get a little thorny right now due to global warming, but we won’t get into that today.)

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Check out some of our fan's favorite More Fiends songs! 
These are songs that fan's posted to YouTube.

First up:  John Peel, world renown and loved British DJ,  introduces the song and plays a track from an “American garage rock act” called More Fiends, broadcast on BBC Radio One from 5th January 1991. More Fiends play Fatty Humps, a track from the 1990 Toad LickinPeel Session & Southern Studios LP. (scroll down a few videos to hear a live version of this song)

 
 
 
Everyone’s favorite, Vinyl Grind, one of More Fiends most popular songs. 
 
 
This next song is a WILD ride! A cut from a LIVE performance in Delaware where the band was confronted by New-Nazis. You can feel the atmosphere in the speed and anger with which the band plays! The song Fatty Humps is performed with an add-on by Julie Davids bass player. She sings of her experience with the AID’s activist group, ACT UP. Fight Back! Compare this to the recorded version of the song up-top of this post.
 
 

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Spring Cleaning

The Problem With Cleaning Products

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Written By ELIZABETH FIEND

When the earth is tilted so that the sun is directly over the equator at high noon, this is the vernal equinox. In this momentary balance of light and dark, we are halfway between summer and winter, we are in the spring. Mid-points have been celebrated through out the ages and around the world. In ancient Babylon, the New Year occurred at the spring equinox. The ancients of America oriented their giant earthwork mounds to equinox sunrise points. Celtic Pagans lit fires at dawn to cure ills, renew life and protect crops. Today, we party in Cancun.

Or we clean.

This season of renewal brings with it the tradition of spring cleaning, making now as good a time as any to switch to all things natural. I’m talking about cleaning products — for your home and your body. All types of non-toxic cleaners for your home are now available in conventional supermarkets: glass, drain, dishwasher, dish soap, laundry, shower, even toilet bowl cleaners. Most are competitively priced or cost just a tad bit more than chemical-based cleaners. Theses natural cleaners are conveniently located right next to the toxic ones, or maybe on a shelf not quite at eye level.

Instead of the toxic, nonrenewable or harmful-to-the-environment ingredients like petroleum, butyl cellosolve, chlorine bleach, and the cancer-causing fragrance ingredient phthalates, the new non-toxic cleaners are made from ingredients like corn, grain alcohol, palm kernel, and citrus and coconut oils. And they really work. Hypo-allergenic, with no perfumes or dyes, they smell nice too. To my nose, they smell way, way better.

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How “The Tea Party” Ruined “Big Tea Party

or how Big Tea Party became SLAW.me

Big Tea Party was founded in 1998 as a 3-minute television show with the tag “cooking, crafts and anarchy.” Eco-punk Elizabeth Fiend was the writer/host; Valerie Keller, editor; Gretjen Clausing on camera; and music provided by More Fiends, the band founded by Elizabeth and her husband Allen Fiend.  Ef kids whole foods resize

Aired on a regular basis on DUTV, the program was an instant success. It charmed people with its quirky editing, and topics like how to make a Checkerboard Cakehow to prevent flats on your bike, even an episode titled How to Talk Like Satan. Ahead of its time, YouTube was not yet invented and it was years before the term sustainable living was known to the masses.

Big Tea Party.com founded in 2002 added to the mission with cool do-it-yourself tips, recipes, projects and articles written by Elizabeth Fiend. The website also compiled the top international sustainable living news.

Meanwhile a groovy parade of new videos continued, with special appearances on public television station WYBE, and nationally on satellite-TV via Free Speech TV.

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Soy to the World!

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Written by ELIZABETH FIEND

I know, you wait and wait, eagerly anticipating your favorite time of the year, and suddenly, it’s here! April is National Soy Month, the most delicious month of the year! Now you no longer have to wait until April to enjoy soy.

Soy is one hell of an amazing plant, one that’s been part of the human diet for over 5,000 years. But it’s much, much more than just veggie burgers. The soybean is also used as food for livestock and it has all the properties of petroleum — except unlike petrol, soy is biodegradable.

Wow, doesn’t knowing that you could fuel up your car or feed your cow with it make soy even more mouth-watering, appetizing and desirable to you?

This bean’s potential is astounding.

Ben Franklin was so intrigued by the story of a “cheese” made from a bean he acquired some seeds, soybeans actually, and sent them to his West Philly homey John Bartram’s estate. Ben also sent along directions on how to turn the beans into curds, aka tofu.

Despite Ben’s efforts, soy never really caught on in Ye Olde America, and was primarily grown for livestock feedbutterfly.jpg and oil until food shortages during WWII stimulated interest in the plant as a source of food for human beans.

Tofu, which had Ben so jazzed up, wasn’t sold in an American supermarket until 1958. Not coincidentally, I made my own debut that year.

Franklin was only one great thinker (and eater) who was intrigued by the potential of the plant from Asia. Both George Washington Carver and Henry Ford donated a great deal of their lives to this marvelous bean.

Carver, the African-American educator and agricultural genius, began investigating soy in hopes it would become a crop newly-emancipated slaves might use to gain financial independence. His soy products include candles, soups, coffee, cheeses, ice cream, flour and oil. (click to see my and my own article on GW Carver)

Henry Ford also had a million projects going on involving soy and dedicated the last two decades of his life to the bean. Among other things, he unveiled a car made with soy-composite body parts in 1941 and was known to be out and about town in a suit spun out of soy.

As a food, soy can’t be beat. It’s packed with more protein than any other bean. In fact, the soybean is the only plant food source that contains ALL of the nine essential amino acids, making it equal to the protein from animal sources. But unlike animal products, soy has no cholesterol and is much lower in saturated fat.

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Elizabeth and Allen Fiend, with their Philly rock-isolationist band More Fiends, kick-out enviro-nut song “Attack of the Giant Squitos”  – – DUTV TV Studio, 1999

Allen Fiend = bass

Elizabeth Fiend = side guitar

Bob Fiend = guitar

Dave Fiend = drums

 

 

Checkerboard Cake    [3 minute video]

Due to popular demand, the ‘secrets’ of how to make the checkerboard cake featured in the opening credits are revealed.

LET THEM EAT CAKE!

TECHNOLOGY, FOOD, ANIMAL RIGHTS, HEALTH:

I Scream Clone

Cloning won’t mean cute new little friends like these, what it means is the FDA approves farm animals for cloning.

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By Elizabeth Fiend 

In 1952 a special tadpole was born. It was the first animal ever cloned. After that breakthrough, scientists spent many years and many millions of dollars on unsuccessful cloning attempts. Then, in 1997, it was ‘Hello, Dolly,’ when this sheep became the first successfully cloned mammal. Since Dolly’s celebrated birth, scientists have cloned many different animals including goats, cows, horses, pigs, rabbits and mice. A guar (an exotic ox native to India) named Noah was the first endangered animal to be cloned, but unfortunately he lived only 48 hours.

There’s also been a big push to clone our beloved pets, for love and profit. The cat came first, then a dog. But it wasn’t easy and as it turns out, the cloning of pets wasn’t as profitable a business as some had hoped. Now the biotechnology industry has turned much of its attention to cloning barn yard animals for future human consumption.

The Food and Drug Administration has released an 800-page report which concluded that the milk and meat from cloned cattle, pigs and goats and their offspring is as safe to eat as the food we currently consume. They also added that they won’t recommend special labels for food from a cloned source, because the food from cloned animals is “virtually indistinguishable” from conventional food.

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