The “Pearls before swine” edition :: Issue #189, Rusty’s Electric Dreams



“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

—  Albert Camus

Rusty's Electric Dreams, an inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff

An inbox zine for positive deviants and the people who love them
Issue #189 :: The “Pearls before swine” Edition :: 9:19:2018

Pearls before swine…

(Hold on tight, folks, this is a long one.)

I didn’t grow up religious, have never been religious, and am not going to start being religious now. But, I am familiar with one Bible verse in particular, the one about “pearls before swine.”

It can be found at Matthew 7:6 and it’s a warning from Jesus:

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”

Now, I’ve come across many a “swine” in my travels on this planet and I’ve given so much of myself to them that I’ve actually been stopped by concerned people. Many times I’ve been told, “Don’t cast pearls before swine.” For a long time I had no idea what any of them were talking about but when several people dole out the same exact wisdom to you, you begin to listen.

Basically, it’s saying you’re not supposed to give the best of yourself away to people who do not deserve it. In other words, pigs are incapable of appreciating pearls, so don’t give them any. Easy in concept but, for someone like me, more difficult in practice.

To help me recognize and remove the “swine” in my life, I came up with a system to deal with them using two special index cards in my desk. One is called the “Hard Close” list and the other is the “Soft Close” list.

Hard Close
People who are “dead to me,” meaning I have deemed them more harm than good, land a permanent home on the “Hard Close” list. They have crossed too many of my boundaries and abused me in one way or another. This list gives me permission to not pull me back into their drama. There would never be a reason for me to contact people on this list or answer any type of message from them. Every person on this list is blocked on my social media. If you land on this list, it is after I have given it much deliberation (and expensive therapy sessions). A couple of my exes, several members of my family, and a few former friends have found their way onto this list. Once on, you never come off.

Soft Close
While hard close is for true swine, the soft close is more of a “tabling” of a relationship. It could go either way but caution is required when dealing with the people on this list. If you are on this list, it’s because I have felt that our relationship has started going in the wrong direction and I needed to pull back to assess the situation. There has been an impasse that, for whatever reason, cannot be resolved immediately.

One more
I have one more list and I keep that one in my purse. It’s the “people whose opinions count” list which is an idea I cribbed from vulnerability and shame researcher Brene Brown. She writes,

“I carry a small sheet of paper in my wallet that has written on it the names of people whose opinions of me matter. To be on that list, you have to love me for my strengths and struggles. You have to know that I’m trying to be Wholehearted, but I still cuss too much, flip people off under the steering wheel, and have both Lawrence Welk and Metallica on my iPod.”

If you’ve landed on this list of mine, it means I trust you and I’ve let you into my life on a whole different level. I share a lot of myself online but this is different. If you are on this list, we are close friends.

Now, keep in mind that the majority of people I know are not on one of these three lists. Also, I don’t share who is on my lists (unless, perhaps, you are on the third one).

Like I said, I am not religious. These lists are simply methods I use to be “religious” about keeping good boundaries in my relationships. I share this with you today because a) I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and b) everyone should have a way to deal with swine in their life.

Rusty Blazenhoff
P.S. You didn’t ask for wisdom but my birthday is on Sunday, so wisdom you will get. 🙂

As seen on the Internets


Positive deviance in practice: The senior class of Michigan’s North Farmington High School has a tradition of dressing up as famous people or pop culture icons for their school ID cards.

“This isn’t a one-off stunt; it’s an ongoing tradition for the Detroit high schoolers who reportedly sometimes spend weeks, if not months, preparing for the big day. Many students become aware of the stunt as soon as freshman year, meaning that some teens have years to think about what they’ll do when their turn comes around,” reports The Verge. You can see their creations by checking out the hashtag #NFID19.


:: Someone working at a Salvation Army hand-wrote humorous notes on some items for sale

:: 900 curated websites from 1995 to 2005: Web Design Museum

:: If you’ve ever tried to buy online eyeglasses, you’ll understand why this $1.99 ruler is a godsend

:: “Burning Man’s Mathematical Underbelly

:: A glimpse of what it’s like to dine at Disneyland’s 21 Royal (at $1250/head)

:: Stories for Ways and Means: Kid’s stories (for grownups), written and read by some cool folks
:: via

:: Museum club: When Basquiat and Fab 5 Freddy pretended to be art students

:: The story of 15-year-old “Major,” East Berlin’s first punk

:: A great guide on “How to be better at parties

:: Ba-de-ya: It’s that time of year again

Real things you can actually buy: yay!


I fell into a rabbit hole that is the world of teacup holsters!  via

Featured Events


[San Jose, CA :: 16 dates between 10/5-10/31] Mr. Nobody’s Mystic Midway (this is Scott Levkoff’s production!) at Winchester Mystery House, candlelight tour tickets now available. (In my twenty-something years in the Bay Area, I’ve remarkably never been to the WMH… anyone interested in going on a field trip next month?!)

Berkeley, CA
[10/4] That Really Happened? A night of true stories at The Monkey House, 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Los Angeles, CA
[9/28-1/27] 21 Collections: Every Object Has a Story at downtown L.A.’s Central Library

Nevada City, CA
[10/13-14] Haute Trash, 30 years of trash fashion

New York City
Oriana Leckert has picked out some events for you

Oakland, CA
[9/29] FIGMENT Oakland 2018, 10 AM to 6 PM

[10/13] Double Dutch by the Lake (Merritt), 12 PM to 3 PM

[10/20 opening reception] Hi-Fructose presents: The Art of the Mushroom at the Compound Gallery, 7 PM to 10 PM  (there will be a special interactive photo booth by Attaboy!) show runs until 12/9

[10/21] East Bay Mini Maker Faire

[10/26] Extra Action 20th Anniversary Halloween Ball at The New Parish, 9 PM, Tickets

San Francisco, CA
[Now through Halloween] San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour: I went! It was cool!

[9/21-9/27] Kusama: Infinity, a documentary on Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama [trailer] at the Roxie

[9/26] DorkbotSF 101 at DNA Lounge, 7 PM to 10 PM

[10/20] Burning Man SF Decompression 2018: Black Top City! at Potrero Power Station 420 23rd Street, 2 PM on, Tickets

[11/29] A John Waters Christmas at GAMH, 8 PM (other cities too!)

Scottsdale, AZ
[April 12-14 2019] Baby Doe and Otto are hosting a new tiki event called Arizona Tiki Oasis at the historic Hotel Valley Ho in Old Town Scottsdale!

Somerville, MA
[9/22] What the Fluff? Festival: Fluff the 13th! Union Square, 3 PM to 7 PM

[10/6] 24 Hour Comics Day

Know about a cool event? Send me the info and I’ll share it with the class!


How art works by Ramin Nazer

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a (mostly) weekly inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff for positive deviants and the people who love them.

Described as, “One of the most inspiring, weird and off-kilter collections of curated kitschy ephemera for the big-brained.”

People like it.

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Publisher & Editor-in-Chief: Rusty Blazenhoff
Co-editors: Carolyn Anhalt & Joyce Slaton




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