HL Mencken on the first great evolution trial…

I’ve spent a LOT of time putting together a series of 13 podcast episodes of HL Mencken’s Baltimore Evening Sun reports on the Scopes trial from Dayton, Tenn. I’m releasing them in somewhat “real time”, according to the dates they were published 85 years ago. I’d like my visitors to this blog to hear them, and if you enjoy it, please pass a link along to others.

First, a list of the episodes and dates they’ll be released, I’ll link them up as they come out:

June 29th – Homo Neanderthalensis
July 9th – Sickening Doubts About Publicity
July 10th – Impossibility of Obtaining Fair Jury
July 11th – Trial as Religious Orgy
July 13th – Souls Need Reconversion Nightly
July 14th – Darrow’s Eloquent Appeal
July 15th – Law and Freedom
July 16th – Fair Trial Beyond Ken
July 17th – Malone the Victor
July 18th – Genesis Triumphant
July 20th – Tennessee in the Frying Pan
July 27th – Bryan
Sept. 14th* – Aftermath
*Will be released by July 30th.

The full text of the report at the end of the blog!

As frequent readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of Mencken’s writing. He’s got a viewpoint that is hardly expressed anymore – a no-bullshit commentator on the follies of his day. Moreso, much of what he criticised then has only gone downhill, and his mockery and scathing verbiage is a balm for the mind appalled by the utter stupidity of the modern scene. The only man I’ve read that was able to mix his best elements together with style was Anton Szandor LaVey. LaVey introduced me to Mencken, as well as any number of authors, philosophers, artists and ideas. LaVey is indeed the proverbial gateway drug. It is the opposite of the religions of “the book”, his was a religion “of the world”. When Adversary Recordings rereleased his “Satan Takes a Holiday” CD, and I was tasked with writing promotional copy, this is the tail end:

“…as with most of the work that Anton LaVey has done, it’s a small door to a sometimes unseemly and Satanic world. Applying the true definition of “occult” to these songs is probably most appropriate, as they are hidden wonders.”

A few of the folks who didn’t get turned onto LaVey get real tripped up on the S-word. I’m not going to go into apologetics here, but I think I will be doing an episode on the topic. Let me assure you that you are nowhere near the first person, if you’re like many, to ask “But why not just call yourself ______?”


I’m not a writer. There are a few things that I’ve pecked out on the keyboard that I’m proud of, but I hold no illusion that they could even serve as an introduction to Mencken’s own words. Though mecken has penned a few pithy quotable lines, there has been one that I’ve found most reflects my own lifelong work, and I’ve used it many times. It is, in fact, the very first quote on my quotes page:

“I hope I need not confess that a large part of my stock in trade consists of platitudes rescued from the cobwebbed shelves of yesterday… This borrowing and refurbishing of shop-worn goods, as a matter of fact, is the invariable habit of traders in ideas, at all times and everywhere. It is not, however, that all the conceivable human notions have been thought out; it is simply, to be quite honest, that the sort of men who volunteer to think out new ones seldom, if ever, have wind enough for a full day’s work.”

-H.L. Menken, from “In Defense of Women”


July 6th was my 35th birthday and the 2nd anniversary of Underworld Amusements (I made a public announcement in October of ’08, but July was the time I started working on it seriously… well, as seriously as I’ve had spare time for). I’ve done quite a bit in the last two years under the banner of UA, but I’m reevaluating it as one should do everything. The podcast started in

The past month and a half I’ve been running ads on Facebook. It’s as cheap or expensive as you want to make it, so I made it cheap and tried to target the people I think would be most interested. It’s brought traffic to the site, but the idea of paying .15 to .50 cents for someone to merely visit the site is hard for me to do. UA is a no-budget operation, more or less. The meager profits from books just go to spending money on website hosting and whatever expenses come along.

This isn’t a wind-up to hitting you up for donations, though it probably sounds like it. No, this is a wind-up to ask anyone who has enjoyed a podcast or book released under the Underworld Amusements banner to occasionally, or at least once, post a link on facebook, write a review on itunes, or do some simple free task to promote what I’m doing. After 14 podcasts, including a number of interviews (from Oscar winner HR Giger, to one-time “worlds worst person” John Derbyshire, to Church of Satan High Priest Peter H. Gilmore, among others), I’ve received exactly one review on iTunes, and that I hounded a friend for.

A few folks have been very supportive, and I’ve done my best to reciprocate. That’s how I roll. I’ve done my best to avoid SPAMMY behavior. I haven’t trolled social network sites begging for folks to “friend” me. I rarely do it on my personal profile and just as rarely do it on my “business” pages. I promote other projects and publishers directly on the UA site and moreso on my personal site. This respectable method isn’t working. Paying for clicks is, but it’s also spending the little money I make that could be spent on new projects or making ongoing projects better.


I’ve tried thinking of ways to organize some sort of project that would assist others who are working on projects or have blogs or books to promote to do so easily. Something either a little more targeted than “facebook”, but not a whole separate system that competes with the established sites. I don’t want to build a social network for misfits, but I would like something like an Instapundit for misanthropes. Something that’s compelling enough to bring returning visitors, but not so involved that people have to set up identities, and something that can push that same info out to folks.

I’m not sure what form it’ll take, but it has a name and a url, though I’m not letting that on right now, as it could radically change or not happen. It’d be like telling you my sons name while still a virgin (well, technically, after I had the first two kids aborted, and was planing on making another kid).

What the fuck is a Huffduffer?

Huffduffer is a dumb name for a really neat service. Huffduff people – if you’re reading this – nothing personal. The one upside is that once you’ve learned the name, it’s hard to forget.

Huffduffer is a free service for creating an RSS & iTunes feed of random audio files you discover on the internet. It doesn’t have to be a podcast, just has to be an MP3 file referenced in whatever page you’re trying to “HuffDuff” (is it a verb? post-Google, can everything now be a verb? If my website provided a service, would you use my name as a verb?)

There’s also a “social”  and “discovery” aspect to the site, allowing you to browse and subscribe to other people’s feeds.

The subscriber base is HEAVY on design, a plus for me, a designer.

You can create a “group”, HuffDuff uses the term “collective”… eh…  anyway, I’m not sure how that part works. If you set up an account, and use it, “add me” or whatever…


TechNerd :: Field Recording Notes

My blog will often feature commentary on what I’m doing with Underworld Amusements. I don’t want to fill the UA blog up with non-essential materials, but that’s part of the reason why I started this. The total listens to the podcast over there is just over 3,500 – with the “test episode” having over 1,000 listens alone (a couple of days after the posting of the HR Giger episode, it has only about 180 listens). I considered pulling it down, but there’s some good stuff on it.

I recently recorded two interviews in the proverbial field (i.e., not over the phone) for UAVH, and figured I’d offer some sound samples and notes on what gear I used. I hardly know what I’m doing. I’ve done a bit of audio recording, but I’ve never had any kind of training or done any serious work with it outside of the few projects I’ve worked on over the years. My ears are as sophisticated as anything not sophisticated at all.


Below is a quick and dirty edited audio introducing recordings for two sound sources.

The first sample was recorded two ways. The first half is the Samson CO1U USB Condenser Mic connected to my 9″ Dell Vostro running the free audio recording program Audacity, the second half using the Blue Microphones Mikey connected to an Apple iPod Classic. The interviewee was speaking directly into the Samson, and the iPod was there as a backup recording just in case. It’s times like this I realize I do live a dysgenic life, forgoing children to buy electronic junk to record podcasts that few people listen to and hardly benefit mankind. Hah…

The second sample is a babbling brook recorded in the mountains of Pennsylvania. It was recorded with the Samon/Netbook but using Adobe Audition.

The netbook/Samson mic is a pretty great portable set-up, but that stand/Shockmount is a real pain in the ass to carry around. It doesn’t really break down into anything portable, and the base IS a big chunk of metal after all.

The big drawback to the CO1U is latency. I’ve installed ASIO4ALL to try to reduce it, but it doesn’t get it to where I can talk and listen with headphones at the same time. This tends to be pretty frustrating, and makes getting recording levels right a bit longer, or I end up not checking them and hoping I can fix them on the back end…

Oct.31st – Nov. 1st :: HL Mencken Club 2009 Conference

I just recently purchased my tickets for this years HL Mencken Club Conference.

This year I’m going to try to get permission from the hosts to interview a few of the speakers for my Underworld Amusements Podcast. It’s too bad I don’t have a number of episodes under my belt yet – just a few specials, the test episode and the one extra. It’s getting a small number of listeners so far (about 1,800+), but not a single review on iTunes, and not enough ratings to tabulate an average yet. It’s one of those credibility paradoxes… you’ve got to have some credibility to get the interviews, and you’ve got to get the interviews to have some credibility.

Maybe the mixed, but mostly positive review of last years event will put them off, or maybe not. Given Derbyshire’s own afterthoughs, maybe he’ll be up for an interview at least.

I just ordered a Blue Microphones Mikey for my iPod for “field recordings” where it’s not possible to take my netbook and USB mic. I’ll be testing it out in Switzerland next weekend. It has mixed reviews, but when I saw it had come down from the $79 purchase price to $49 on amazon, I pulled the proverbial trigger.

Underworld Amusements HAS published a Mencken book, and his work will appear in the next volume of the Iron Youth Reader.

I’m really excited that Patrick J. Buchanan and Steve Sailer are going to speak. I’ve read three books by the former and have been a daily reader of the blog of the latter for a few years now. Mr Sailer is the only person to ever write a golf themed article and make it interesting to me. That’s amazing.

Anyway, I wanted to plug the event here.

Satanism Today – Guest Hosting

This is an extended version of the episode of Satanism Today that I guest hosted. It’s almost an hour and a half long.

Kevin I. Slaughter of Scapegoat Publishing guest-hosts this weeks episode of Satanism Today. Pre-recorded over the last week, he discusses the Westboro Baptist Church, the James Watson Race and IQ controversy and has a surprise interview with Artie Philie of the bands “The Shemps” and “Celebrity Murders”.
Kevin has also prepared an extended version of the show, with exclusive content for the podcast edition, available after the show.
Mr. Slaughter will be available in the APEC Radio chat room during the airing of the show.

Relevant links to this episode: