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#2254 - Thursday, September 8, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz


What does it mean to be fully unplugged and present? I dunno. I admit that when I took the Red Pill there were some blue specks in it. Hey, I had a cold and I thought it was a Contac. But these three articles describe living and lives that are probably a little more plugged into The Matrix World than yours or mine.


Featured are a book review, the story of a con man who convinced people for years at a time that they were being followed by terrorists, and notes from the "hey no one loves elvis more than i do but this is a little too much" file.


We finish up with a tag line from Toombaru.


--Jerry Katz

Bret Easton Ellis castigates and/or wallows in consumer Babylon

I Know What You Bought Last Summer

by Matthew Wilder
September 7, 2005

Lunar Park
Brett Easton Ellis
Alfred A. Knopf

The pleasurable tension of a Bret Easton Ellis novel lies between what it seems to be (a laundry list of luxury products) and what he must intend it to be (a searing indictment of a materialist culture). Does B.E.E. intend to castigate a puerile, shopping-crazed America, or does he just personify it?

Essaying the Age of Terror, B.E.E. has found an exquisitely terrifying genre of Stuff to Enumerate: kiddie items. In his new Lunar Park, a coke-, booze- and Xanax-stuffed writer named Bret Easton Ellis leaves his chic bisexual pill-popping lifestyle for a house in the exurbs, shared with a warm and apparently sexless Ashley Judd-type movie star. There, to his horror and ours, B.E.E. is able not to rattle off the brand names of high-priced appliances (as in American Psycho) or C-list celebs bounding into B-list nightclubs (as in Glamorama), but is confronted by...Harry Potter merch. Shrek-shaped Halloween costumes. Mini-Blackberries and Pilates mats for two-year-olds. And pills, above all pills, antidepressants, anti-anxieties, anti-A.D.D.s, all aimed at the grade-school set, but potent enough to set the pseudo-sober Brat Pack lit star to drooling.

By the time Bret, haunted by images of his abusive father, hunkers down in his Security-Mom-and-Soccer-Dad household, ghostly winds blow, icky scratching noises ensue, and B.E.E. gets e-mails from the Bank of America late at 2:40 a.m., the exact moment of his father's death! There's also a student at the college where B.E.E. teaches who seems to be performing a series of copycat murders in the style of American Psycho. As the various scare-novel accoutrements unfold, a deeper mystery arises. Is B.E.E. creating a portrait of fear-crazed America in the schlocky shape of an I Know What You Did Last Summer thriller? (I hope so. I think so.) Or is he just creating a schlocky I Know What You Did... thriller in the hopes of getting a limited series out of it on FX, with maybe Rob Lowe as B.E.E.? (I fear so. I think maybe.) Ellis the craftsman works overtime, synthesizing elements from The Shining (the writer who may be authoring his family's deaths), Cujo (doggie run amok), The Lost Boys (teen-abductee homoerotica), and every serial-killer movie ever made (the notion of the mass murderer as life coach and spiritual guru). He even offers some ontological mysteries out of Mulholland Drive. But does he "know what he's doing," or is he just schlock-mongering? Is he a pitch-perfect critic of vapidity, or a victim of the vapors? Intentionally or not, B.E.E., as per usual, perfectly captures the zeitgeist: a world in which our deepest terrors as privileged Americans seem about as fresh and as real as the screams coming out of some teen bikini chick in a late-night TNT showing of Witchboard IV.


'Evil' British conman who posed as spy jailed for life


London, United Kingdom

06 September 2005 03:40

A charming and ruthless British conman who posed as a spy to extort huge sums from a string of vulnerable victims was jailed for life on Tuesday.

He had persuaded his victims to think they were on the run from terrorists.

Robert Hendy-Freegard, a semi-literate former salesman and barman nicknamed "The Puppetmaster" was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court in central London after being found guilty of a string of crimes related to deception.

The sentence brought to an end a convoluted and often bizarre eight-month trial in which the jury were told of the enormous influence 34-year-old Hendy-Freegard managed to exert over his seven victims.

One student, John Atkinson, who fell victim to the conman, handed over 300 000 after being told he had been recruited to help fight Northern Irish terrorists.

Hendy-Freegard persuaded Atkinson to let himself be repeatedly beaten up as a "test" to prove he was tough enough, before abandoning university to live on the run for three years, fleeing imaginary terrorist gangs.

Five of the conman's victims were women, most of whom fell in love with him. One, a just-married secretary, left her husband and eventually ended up destitute, sleeping on park benches.

While those conned suffered appallingly, Hendy-Freegard -- who lived by the motto "Lies have to be big to be convincing" -- used their money to enjoy luxury cars, expensive meals and five-star holidays.

Judge Deva Pillay said the effect of the conman's actions on his victims, at least two of whom contemplated suicide, had been appalling.

"It was plain to me as I listened to the evidence for many months that you are an egotistical and opinionated confidence trickster who has shown not a shred of remorse nor compassion for the degradation and suffering to which your victims were subjected," he said.

The court had heard how Hendy-Freegard began the deception in 1993 when he worked as a barman in Wales, targeting three students at a local college.

One of these, Sarah Smith, recalled incidents such as being taken to a so-called "safe house" with a bucket over her head, having to hide in cupboards to avoid visitors, and spending three weeks in a locked bathroom with little to eat, convinced she would be shot by a sniper if she dare leave.

Detective Sergeant Bob Brandon, who led the police case against the conman, said he had enjoyed a millionaire's existence while forcing his victims to live "in abject poverty".

"By pretending to be a spy, he achieved power and control over people's lives. He was not a spy, he was a sad cruel individual," he said. - AFP 


A nod to Elvis on yogi's spiritual journey

The King's music helped lead author/teacher to Eastern traditions

  By PAUL GRONDAHL, Staff writer
First published: Wednesday, September 7, 2005

SAND LAKE -- Leonard Perlmutter is totally serious when he calls Elvis Presley "my guru."

The 59-year-old yoga and meditation teacher, in fact, thanks the King in the acknowledgments to his new book, "The Heart and Science of Yoga."

Perlmutter began listening to Presley's gospel recordings as a boy growing up in Albany. He was moved by Presley's voice in a way he would not fully appreciate until much later, after decades of studying Eastern philosophy, world religions and mysticism.

"When I gave my attention to the music of Elvis, the rest of the world fell away," said Perlmutter. "That was my earliest meditation."

In his life and in his writing, Perlmutter has set out to demystify yoga and meditation, to make it seem as natural and essential as drawing breath.

"Meditation is nothing more than concentration of the mind," he said. "You can be meditating when you're golfing, playing poker, cooking, gardening or reading a book."

Perlmutter and his wife, noted equine artist Jenness Cortez Perlmutter, explain the ways in which they've braided yoga and meditation into their everyday lives in the encyclopedic, 511-page tome they co-authored.

The book is an outgrowth of the American Meditation Institute for Yoga Science and Philosophy, which the couple began at their home in 1996. They draw a wide range of seekers to their renovated 19th-century farmhouse and bucolic five-acre grounds in Averill Park.

They paid $30,000 for the ramshackle spread and a tractor in 1975 during their back-to-the-land bohemian days. They bought it from a former tractor salesman who had a religious conversion in the house, quit his job and became a missionary for a fundamentalist church.

"Maybe it's something in the water here," Perlmutter said, a sly grin creasing his lips beneath a long, full beard that is mostly gray.

Perlmutter formed the institute after studying with the late Shri Swami Rama of the Himalayas. A dozen people are currently enrolled in his six-week meditation course.

"These are people who have pain in their lives from work stress, divorce, illness and other causes," Perlmutter said. "Their goal is to live without pain."

Perlmutter, who was raised as an Orthodox Jew, said he has no desire to develop disciples. He encourages students to continue attending their churches and synagogues.

"My job is to become a mirror and to redirect their attention back to themselves," he said.

The couple practices what they preach. They rise at 5:30 a.m., offer prayers, stretch through various yoga positions and meditate. The take a long walk along their country road, followed by a light breakfast. He goes to his study to read and write, she to her painter's studio. They break to cook a vegetarian meal for lunch, their main repast of the day, followed by afternoon work sessions and evening classes.

Perlmutter, shoeless, wears an Asana suit, an Eastern-styled, loose-fitting ensemble of white cotton slacks and collarless shirt. Encircling his wrist is a silver bracelet engraved with his mantra, Aum namaha shivaya -- "Nothing is mine. Everything is thine."

He wears a silver ring with an image of Ganesh, the Hindu elephant god. His necklace is a string of rudraksha seeds.

His car, a wood-paneled 1996 Buick Roadmaster station wagon, has a vanity license plate that reads, "Aum."

The road to yogi was full of twists and turns for Perlmutter. His father, an Austrian Jew, emigrated from Austria to the United States in the 1920s. He ran movie theaters in Lake George and Glens Falls and later cafeterias.

His dream was for his son to become a lawyer.

Perlmutter, who has an older sister, did his best to oblige.

After graduating from Albany High School in 1964, he earned a degree in political science and international relations from American University. He dropped out of George Washington University School of Law after two years.

"I wasn't satisfied trying to live my father's dream," he said.

After moving back in with his parents in the New Scotland Avenue neighborhood, he started an alternative newspaper, Washington Park Spirit, in 1971. He pulled together a talented bunch of young, idealistic people like himself. They worked for free at first, fueled by a desire to challenge the Albany Democratic machine and to foster grass-roots activism.

The Spirit's illustrator was Jenness Cortez. Perlmutter was editor and publisher. The two discovered they were kindred spirits.

It was a heady time and the 20,000-circulation biweekly community paper, but Perlmutter closed it in 1975, after four years of publication.

"I had spent every waking hour on it and was exhausted," Perlmutter said.

His chapter as newspaper publisher had ended and a new one, as student of yoga and philosophy, began on farmland in Averill Park.

The unusual arc of his career would make a good song -- gospel perhaps. And sung by Elvis, his guru, of course.

Paul Grondahl can be reached at 454-5623 or by e-mail at [email protected].



Why does Sai Baba manifest those cheap watches and not Rolexes?

......and why is he so attracted to little boys?

Why did Ramana say that there was reincarnation..........and then say there wasn't?

Why did he tell us that his pet cow was enlightened?

Why is Ramesh still compelled to touch the femaleness around him?

Why did Nisargadatta piddle all over himself when a relative of Ramana came to his house?

Why did Mother Teresa lie about that orphanage of 5000?


Why do you continue to believe that they all have something.........that you do  not?



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