Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Sin of Idolatry

Pra Pi Ganesh
My wife’s friend Khun Nong cleaned out a storage unit today. Khun Nong is Thai Muslim, so these statuettes of Pra Pi Ganesh, Ganesha, and the Chinese prosperity icon were just decorative for her. 

Khun Nong is an observant Muslim, she taught me a lot about Islam, and she made me recalibrate my thinking on that faith, as my previous experiences with Muslims were with jihadis and proto-jihadis, Sunni Wahhabis, Salafis in love with a cult of death, anticipating their 72 virgins.

Thai Muslims, the ones that I know, are deeply peaceful, carefully observant of their rituals and charitable activities in their communities. They live without friction in a Buddhist country, there is no conflict in Bangkok between Thai Muslims and Buddhists.

Just do not ask them about Israel. My wife was surprised to hear invective and condemnation about Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque at a Muslim fair. When I explained that Israelis defeated Arab armies and yet respected the sanctity of Al Aqsa, she was impressed. I think that the Jews should build the Third Temple. 

I do not go to the Thai South, where a Muslim separatist war has raged now for decades. The last king, His Majesty King Rama 9, was a nationalist and he dismissed proposals for limited autonomy for Southern Muslims, who once had their own Pattani kingdom until it was conquered by modern Thailand.

His Majesty King Rama 9 Bhumibol Adulyadej

Thailand is a melange of religions and mythologies, it was in its distant past an animist region. Then the Hindu came with their innumerable gods and goddesses, and their depictions of Vishnu, Brahma, and Ganesh. I see few depictions here of Shiva,  and very few of Kali Ma.

Phra Phrom, the Brahma idol at the Erawan Shrine next to the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel at Ratchaprasong. This idol is at the heart of the great city. 

After the Hindu came the Buddhists. The Buddhists came last, so their syncretic layer is strongest, though you still see manifestations of the Hindu gods and animist rites persist. China is near, but not too near, so you also see Chinese influences, brought by Chinese migrants who came south and settled in Thailand.

When I ask my wife about Chinese iconography, she tells me “I am Thai so do not ask me.” Thai Chinese have their own myths and their own iconography, and it surrounds us, along with all the other influences. 

I always found it interesting that Chinese merchants can erect their shrines on the ground in their businesses, while Thai depictions of the Buddha must always be elevated, the highest objects in a structure.

My wife has a spirit house at her father’s house in Buri Ram, and when she is there she assumes the daily duties of replenishing the offerings. We do not own our home in Bangkok, we rent, so she has no spirit house here. Our ancestors are not here, except in our hearts.

She does have a shrine inside our home, with Buddhist icons and depictions of His Majesty King Rama 9, and some eminent monks. I help her keep the flowers fresh there, she burns incense and prays on Buddhist holy days, and peace reigns in our household, except that Her Majesty my cat does not like the incense.

Her Majesty comes to my office and she complains, loudly saying “meow! Mommy is burning incense again!” She sits in my doorway like a little ruler of the household, and the tone of her “meow!” Is clear: do something about that incense! 

Her Majesty in her front garden. She does not like incense!

I asked my wife what Khun Nong would have done with these statuettes if she had not been there to inherit them, and she said that Khun Nong would have donated them to charity. Of course. Graven images are haram in Islam. I am glad that they came to us. 

I am not sure where Momma will put them. Perhaps with the other icons. Except the Chinese prosperity statuette. I do not know where she will put that. She is not Chinese.

I am ignorant of the mythology behind this icon. I presume that it is a prosperity icon, and that the smiling man stole treasure from the dragon. If you know about this icon, please enlighten me in the comments! Thank you. 

We are also conflicted about the golden depiction of Pra Pi Ganesh. We are disturbed by his eyes. These are just everyday statuettes, not limited editions by eminent artists. You can buy them in street markets. 

But their attention to detail is remarkable, and the artisan who made the golden icon of Pra Pi Ganesh achieved something when he carved the eyes.

As I say: the eyes of this idol are perturbing. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Will the Real Julian Assange Please Stand Up?

There are many "Julian Assange"​ @JulianAssange accounts on Twitter, but only one of them is the real Julian Assange​. You must be careful to ensure that you are reading the words of the genuine Assange, and not one of the multiple "parody" accounts that Twitter permits. 

It is inexcusable that Twitter allows so many fake Assange accounts to proliferate, but their reasons are simple enough. Twitter is a private company, and it can do whatever the hell that it wants to do with its service. By mistreating Assange, Twitter also genuflects to governments worldwide that demonize Assange and WikiLeaks as a "non state hostile intelligence service." 

Splitting off undiscriminating users who follow fake Assange accounts enables controllers of those accounts to say anything and to attribute it to Assange, duping thousands of people. Deliberate confusion ensues. This is no mistake. 

Finally, Twitter prevents the genuine Assange from accumulating Twitter followers, reducing his data footprint and blunting the reach of his words. Twitter does this often, "shadow banning," using a variety of schemes, in an effort to suppress speech that they disagree with. 

This is why Twitter declines to register the real Julian Assange's Twitter account, withholding the iconic blue checkmark that denotes a confirmed account. 

Twitter's partisanship not only violates simple right and wrong, it is contrary to the spirit of the internet itself, which retains an increasingly embattled libertarian quality of permitting all perspectives to be stated, no matter how repugnant that they may be. 

One simple example is Twitter's tolerance of Big Harvey Weinstein, surely among the most reviled figures of our time. Big Harvey retains his account. And he has a blue checkmark. 

Assange exposed government corruption. Big Harvey reportedly raped and subjected actresses to sexual harassment, and allegedly ejaculated on a potted plant. Do the math. 

Twitter and YouTube primarily interfere with "alt-right" internet personalities like David Seaman (who quit Twitter entirely for a time, and just recently resumed tweeting after he was booted off YouTube), Lauren Southern (banned from Patreon), Mike Cernovich (a net media juggernaut banned from Medium), Alex Jones (another net juggernaut, host of InfoWars, on the verge of getting banned from YouTube despite millions of subscribers), his sartorial badness Roger Stone (lifetime ban from Twitter) and Jack Posobiec (banned from Medium). 

Other so-called "alt-right" personalities suffer ideological discrimination on Twitter, like Milo Yiannopoulos​, who has nearly 2.5 million followers on Facebook. Twitter kicked Milo off its service entirely, claiming that he harassed a black actress. Milo did not merely harass her. He observed that she is a shitty actress, which she is, and she looks like a dude, which she does. 

Milo's acolytes then unleashed a deluge of racism, misogyny, sexism and transphobia. I thought that that was what the internet was for, allowing a billion flowers to bloom, even the rankest. I am clearly mistaken. 

I generally favor market solutions to market problems, and this harassment of Assange could be classified that way, but it is time for Twitter and YouTube and all social media leviathans to be subjected to FCC regulations, regulated like any other communications utility. 

In the meantime, quit all Assange accounts that you follow on Twitter, and follow only @JulianAssange. You can also follow the various @WikiLeaks accounts (which is blue check marked, adding insult to injury)  but Assange maintains a personal account for logical reasons, and he should be able to do that without suffering such petty abuses from Twitter. 

How many of us follow @realdonaldtrump? Our president maintains and tweets from his personal account, reserving @POTUS for official statements. Even presidents are entitled to hold personal views, and nobody can tell them that they cannot express them when they wish. 

As an American, I think that everybody should be treated with the same respect that Twitter shows to President Trump. That would be egalitarian, and respectful of the free speech ideals that founded the internet. 

We all see what happens when private firms try to legislate morality: they begin by withholding a blue checkmark, then they censor. Nobody designated Twitter the thought police. 

Now please pardon me. I need to get a fresh cup of covfefe. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Thought Control, Propaganda, Censorship

I talked recently with readers on my Facebook rant page about the writer Ms. Caitlin Johnstone (Twitter: @caitoz). Their verdict is that she can be shrill, click-baity, and that she is trying too hard to win eyeballs. 

None of those criticisms invalidate her self-analysis, which I mostly agree with, except for her naive faith in socialism. In America, we do in fact have a mixed economy with many socialist elements. As a libertarian Tea Partier I consider the socialist elements of the American state to be its weakest parts. 

When market forces are permitted to operate, a Darwinian process ensues which usually yields optimal solutions. It is in our efforts to curb capitalism, to soften it, that we most often err on a macro level. I favor buffering the impact of harsh capitalism on American citizens when necessary, but I also think that we need to let market forces work. This requires balance. 

I say this fully witting of my own hypocrisy, as I live on a government Veterans Disability Pension. Without the state, without the US government, I would not be able to feed my family. Nonetheless, as an American, I reserve my right to criticize my government. My rights are enshrined in the Constitution, a document that we too often ignore. 

Like Ms. Johnstone, I condemn plutocracy and oligarchy, and I perceive both at the root of the behemoths of Amazon, Google and Facebook. These leviathans control so much of our current reality that I am forced to write these words on my personal website and on Medium, as Facebook artificially suppresses the growth of my rant page and limits the reach of my words. 

I have been stuck for weeks with a mere 687 Likes. Really? Sometimes the Facebook Pages software, which I use to administer my rant page, tells me the truth about how many people are seeing my posts. The number does not correspond to reporting elsewhere on Facebook, much less direct observation. This discrepancy feeds my sense that Facebook suppresses some voices, primarily conservative opinions, and God forbid that you earn the dreaded label "alt-right."

An outright pogrom against "alt-right" speakers on YouTube and Twitter is underway, and many have been demonetized, their channels given warning strikes, and an increasing number have been shut down entirely. 

Alex Jones and InfoWars on YouTube are treading on thin ice, despite millions of subscribers and millions of views, and it is my hope that Mr. Jones leads the way in suing the pants off of YouTube, which abuses its near monopoly on internet video. YouTube needs to be split off from Google on antitrust grounds, and it needs to be regulated like a communications utility, because that is what it is. 

This video by Lift The Veil may be deleted by YouTube at any time. The creator's solution is to post his videos on Twitch and on SteemIt. SteemIt in particular is based on blockchain, and is hence inherently hostile to censorship. 

There are definitions of "alt-right" and then there are definitions. If you accept the definition of the Southern Poverty Law Center, you brand anyone who is "alt-right" as racist, and the problem is that the SPLC condemns creators who manifestly are not racist as racist, and their categorization is not only a modern form of McCarthyism, it is widely adopted throughout the neoliberal blogosphere. 

Then communications monopolies like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and now, Medium act, disguising censorship as social justice virtue signaling. 

On Twitter, Milo remains persona non grata, as does his sartorial badness Roger Stone. David Seaman has been censored entirely on both Twitter and on YouTube, leading him to take his 160,000 subscribers to his own platform on Fulcrum, leveraging the censorship proof video host BitChute. The problem with BitChute is that blockchain is built for transparency and permanence, not for speed of file delivery, so videos streamed from BitChute can be laggy. 

Even on Medium, censorship has begun, with Jack Posobiec, Laura Loomer and Mike Cernovich banned from the platform. The rationale? "Disinformation." I do not know how Medium can claim to discern "disinformation" without applying partisan filters, as was clearly done in their case. 

I am obviously well aware of censorship masquerading as something else, and I condemn it. When I am not lazy, I break out rants from my Facebook rant page and I publish them on Medium and my own site at I will soon resume publishing them on SteemIt, as well, another censorship resistant platform using blockchain. 

If you are reading these words you know that something is wrong, that the Pravda mass media is wholly suborned, that the corporate concentration of ownership is stoking censorship amid fears that our voices enjoy too much liberty. I do not know how that is even imaginable, as a First Amendment absolutist I defend even the rights of fascists to speak, but when six corporations control 90% of media, we see the consequences

The internet has changed mankind. Our ability to search data and to speak, even when we speak into artificially constrained chambers like this one, is unprecedented, and it contains the seeds of our ultimate liberty or our ultimate enslavement. 

Cryptocurrencies are the other great innovation that can change our civilization. Cryptocurrencies at this point are synonymous with the internet: to control them, the net must be controlled, and this is the threat that we must combat every day. 

I consider Ms. Johnstone an ally to a certain point, and I feature her writing because it often mirrors my own sentiments. If you do not like our ideas, you are under no compulsion to read me, or to read her. If you read Milo, or Roger Stone, or Jack Posobiec, or Laura Loomer, or Mike Cernovich, or David Seaman, you already notice that it is harder to find them due to increasing censorship. 

I hope that you will take the additional steps necessary to hear all those suppressed voices. My rationale is simple: We all can continue to learn until our final metamorphosis at the moment of our death, and hearing alternative opinions enriches our lives. We need to step out of our comfort zones, and we need to defend the free speech rights of all speakers. Mass media is already naked thought control: One person's fake news is another's propaganda.  

I appreciate every one of you who read me. I do not take your eyeballs or your consciousness for granted. I am not incapable of change. But at age 57, I have lived a rich life with many experiences, and my views are based on long experience and much reading. 

I hope that you will consider what I write, and what dissident voices like Ms. Johnstone and others say, as we live through this amazing time in human history. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Facebook Purgatory of Michael Yon

An historical photo of Michael Yon. The New York Times said that no other journalist spent more time in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yon prefers to be described as a writer. 

Missing the incisive commentary of my brother, Michael Yon, whom Facebook banned from its platform for 30 days. His thoughtcrime? He made some comment about the Korean comfort women issue, an issue that he dominates. Nobody knows more about that dispute, that Chinese information op, than Michael Yon. 

Michael Yon brings eyeballs to Facebook, he has more than 637,000 Likes on his page. Yon earned those eyeballs the hard way, in combat, in Afghanistan and Iraq, shooting iconic photos and writing unsettling, precise analysis. 

Yon talks to everybody. He talks to Prime Ministers, to Secretaries of Defense, to grunts, to me, to everybody. And he sets an example for fairness and evenhanded discourse that I try to follow and fail. It was Yon who told me to stop swearing in my posts. I grumbled, but as I observed, attuned to the issue after he focused me on it, I realized that he was right. Again. 

Yon is often right. He talks about issues big and small, and he is often right. He and I do not agree all the time, but Mike listens, and if you can handle his response, he will teach you something that you did not know before. 

I asked him what his thoughtcrime was, and he said that he was discussing the Korean comfort women issue. I cannot imagine what he possibly said, what he possibly could say, that would merit a 30 day ban from Facebook. 

This just underscores how despicable social media is becoming. The behemoths of social media, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, increasingly enforce thoughtcrime standards on us all, primarily suppressing conservative commentary. Even on my own page, the suppression is obvious. 

I often call for social media to be regulated like any other communications utility. More and more of us use social media as our primary means of staying in touch with everybody and everything on a daily basis. As much as I dislike Facebook, and I do dislike it, I still end up writing on Facebook everyday, for an artificially suppressed audience. 

That is partly one reason why I do it. Because to hell with them. They can suppress us, they can use their fake algorithms to marginalize our points of view, but they will never succeed in shutting us up. 

When Facebook bans somebody like Mike Yon for 30 days, they expose themselves, they expose their dictatorial values, and they confirm that they are unworthy of so much control. Who are these Silicon Valley idealists to impose their values on us? 

We disagree. We see our world another way. We are entitled to hold our views, we are entitled to express our views, and no Silicon Valley twerp will ever throttle us. 

My guess is that the disgust that I feel for Facebook will continue to grow, it will spread, more of us will feel it, and eventually, at some future point, that rejection will culminate in a great correction. 

They got it coming to them. 

This post was originally a rant on my Facebook page. 

Mike Yon and I walking off Soi 20 in Bangkok, 2017. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Slow Motion Death of Traditional Publishing

The banner ad for A Tale of the Grenada Raiders that my Ranger brother John Czarnecki made for me. For sale on Amazon, iBooks, and now, on GooglePlay. You can also read this book on GoogleBooks. I am working on a print edition on GooglePlay and an AudioBook version. 

"Technology makes publishing houses redundant. Publishers are now under siege, and Amazon is poaching their income streams."

As I wrote my first book, a war memoir, it dawned on me that a default format for war memoirs emerged over time. I read a million of them, just like you. 

I could have written this book following that template, I could have written my memoir just like everybody else's war memoir, but honestly: Grenada was 34 years ago, it was a minor intervention in the greater scheme of geopolitics, and nobody cares what happened there anymore except for the protagonists. 

So I could not write a conventional war memoir. It would be boring, lost in a sea of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq memoirs, and nobody would read it. 

So I wrote this one my way, and as I wrote it, I wondered if anybody would get it, or if readers would even notice that I wrote this memoir differently. 

I am surprised to see that almost every reviewing reader on the Amazon page did indeed get it. Some more than others, but not one reviewer, not one reader, complained that I broke rules writing this book. 

A few of the reviewers really got it. They picked up on what I tried to do. We all read war memoirs. This one is different. 

As I write this article, the book is now up to 39 reviews on Amazon, all 5-stars. Some of those reviews were written by folks who should be writing their own books. Some of the reviewers are famous within the special ops community. Most of them are veterans. 

Bridget approves of my book, in both softcover and Kindle versions. Bridget's human, my bro Brian, is a civilian test reader. He gave me priceless feedback on early drafts. 

A few civilians also read the book, I am always astonished when civilians read what I write, but their feedback can be eye opening. 

One reviewer whom I do not know personally, Ms. Jeanette Beardsley, wrote this review
It has taken some time to fully digest. It is a book like no other on your shelf. The physical size, the text sizing, the layout, the photography alone make it a surrealistic pleasure to hold, a work of art. Unique in writing style, impossible to compare to another author, I can only place him in the haze between Stephen Crane and Michael Herr. It's essence can only be felt in its printed form, and is difficult to describe intellectually. Only a Ranger could produce a work where Beauty, Suffering, and Menace converge like this.
I can never explain how gratifying a review like that is. You never know what is going to happen when you publish a book. You dread the inevitable criticism, the nitpicking, the comparisons, and most of all, the unsolicited "advice" from more experienced writers and those who style themselves as "editors." 

One editor told me, "everybody needs an editor," apparently oblivious that this opinion puts food on his dinner table. He desperately wants that opinion to be true. 

It is not universally true, not all writers in fact do need an editor, but he can never admit that, as admitting that some writers need only light editing and others need none would undermine his relevance. Everybody likes to be indispensable, and everybody wants to put food on the table. 

Then that editor made observations about my book that confirmed that he scanned the text, at best, and its deeper layers of meaning went straight over his head. This is an editor who pays his rent by massaging memoirs into that same old tired default format that I repudiated. 

Not surprising, his critiques were diametric to my intentions, and I realized that publishing this book through traditional channels would expose me to vampires like him. 

So that is one benefit of self-publishing. There is no need to tussle with editors and proofreaders, justifying your approach, your organization, your word choices, or your writing style. 

While many writers can benefit from a fresh set of eyes on their manuscript, those alternate eyes were never mandatory, and readers more than ever are now the ultimate arbiters of your success as a writer--or your failure. 

I gave this book almost a year in the hands of an agent. I am sure that he never looked at it. But while it was in his hands, I was honor-bound not to send it to any other agents.

Who made up that lousy convention? It only benefits agents, and it puts writers at a disadvantage.  

Finally, I decided to just publish this book on my own. I feel zero regrets about that. Yes, a traditional publishing house might advance me a chunk of money, but the book's sales are surprisingly good, and my royalties are honestly earned. I am not getting rich, but I am earning a reasonable cut of each copy purchased.

I do not have to share those royalties with an agent (15%), nor do my royalties filter down to me courtesy of the bookkeeping of a publisher with every incentive to cheat me. 

It is highly unlikely that a traditional publisher would ever agree to publish this book in large 8.5x11-inch format, and I am sure that they would reject the number of photos that made it into the final draft. At 377 pages, this book weighs 2.4 lbs. You can smack somebody upside the head with it. And Pepsi approves of this book. So I got that going for me. 

If you consider the expenses that a traditional publisher will recoup before it ever pays a writer another cent in royalties, you realize that this is a big deal. Amazon can seem a bit greedy, but their bookkeeping is impeccable, and their royalty structure is straightforward. All rights remain with me. There are no catches.  

The GoogleBooks and GooglePlay Conundrum

Technology worked a revolution in publishing, you see. Anybody can publish on Amazon and iBooks. GooglePlay and GoogleBooks are harder, as Google is technically not accepting new publishers, except that they are. 

Here is the work-around, when you tire of seeing that "no new publishers accepted at this time" dialogue box. Go to this page and submit the form. 

I spent a couple of days working through Google's system, and this was bizarrely complicated by Google's insistence on serving me pages in Thai. Their server senses my IP address, and assumes that because I am in Bangkok I must surely want all pages in Thai. 

I do not read and write Thai. Google never envisioned an American expat living in the Kingdom. I cleared browser caches and reset preferences, and still, their pages came down in Thai. 

This drove me nuts. The solution was crazy: download Google's Chrome browser, and enable the option that automatically translates pages from Thai to English. 

Keep GoogleTranslate open, as some pop-up boxes will not auto translate, and you will need to copy and paste their contents into GoogleTranslate to understand what they say. 

This process will take some time, as you will need to enter bank accounts and tax ID information, but you can upload a .pdf of your manuscript and struggle through their procedures while Google's servers grind away on your uploaded files. 

I finally got my book posted on GoogleBooks and on GooglePlay. Now I will work on getting a softcover released through GooglePlay. Tomorrow. I am tired of Google right now. 

My Ranger brother Murph purchased three copies. My other Ranger brother Scott, who is depicted in the book, bought five. But Rangers are not the only readers and purchasers. 

The consequence of the revolution in publishing is direct access for writers to a Darwinian marketplace. Good writers sell books and their ideas propagate through the zeitgeist. Smart writers care more about getting read than about getting paid. Though lesser writers fade in relevance, they still get to say, "I published a book." 

Since anyone, literally anybody, can publish a book, some books will sell a grand total of one copy, or ten. Some will sell more. I am closing in on 400 copies sold. And climbing. I am not boasting. I am marveling. And I am profoundly grateful. 

But Amazon, principally Amazon, made Random House, Penguin, Simon and Schuster, Crown--all of the big houses--redundant. The primary marketplace for books, Amazon, is now also a publisher. 

This revolution in publishing marginalizes the big houses, and it erodes their dominance of the industry. Traditional publishers are no longer the gatekeepers in an ecosystem that writers must placate in order to sell books. 

This means that all the encumbrances of a publishing house, all the bureaucratic layers, the finance departments, the marketing departments, the pre-readers, the proofreaders, the editors, the illustrators, the fact checkers, and the lawyers, are all erased from the equation. 

Many writers, no question, do need an editor. Unfortunately editors are not created equally. One editor that published an excerpt of my book a couple of years ago in The Daily Beast was truly gifted. 

That editor, Jake Siegel, quit his job at the Beast and he decided that he was a writer, period, and that he would never edit anyone else's work ever again.

No traditional publishing house would ever permit me to include so many photos, like these from pages 183-4. Photos are expensive. They crank the price of a book up, even for print-on-demand operations. The Amazon list price for this book is $64.99. Amazon took a hit and they sell it for $21.xx. Amazon made a business decision, acting with greater nimbleness and flexibility than a traditional house ever could. 

Which brings me to my next observation about editors. With the exception of Jake Siegel, and theoretical others, too many editors are actually failed writers. It took me some time, as I am not that smart, but many of the criticisms that random editors sent to me unsolicited were in fact motivated by jealousy. 

"Everybody needs an editor?" Maybe so. But not an editor who is secretly covetous of the accomplishments of the writer. Sometimes such editors do not even realize that they are jealous. But it comes out in their comments. 

I can feel editors out there in internet land seething over these observations. I do not care. Editors in the current publishing milieu must be outstanding, because they are running out of safe places.

Technology makes publishing houses redundant. Publishers are now under siege, and Amazon is poaching their income streams. 

There may still be a place for some editors and fact checkers and legal reviewers in the ecosystem, but their relevance is diminishing, and it is no coincidence that editors are getting fired wholesale everywhere that we turn. Editors are increasingly an endangered species.

If a publishing house wishes to make me an offer, I will consider it. In the hands of the right publisher, this book could sell harder than I can accomplish on my own with the help of those of you reading these words. 

But money is not the sole purpose here. 

Omitting a publishing house enabled me to focus on those other important priorities. I did things with this book that most editors would not permit, and most houses would not accept, and I enjoy a direct relationship to my readers. 

Technology marches on. 

We all must adapt or fade into irrelevance. 

That includes writers, agents, editors, and publishers. Some of us are making a graceful transition. Some are burning in. 

Such a spectacle.

Ranger Jeff Mellinger was one of the earliest purchasers of this book, buying when its Amazon price was $64.99. Jeff really wanted this book. He sent me the first photos of the book in the wild, including this depiction of page 277. Jeff also wrote an epic lead review