Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Sci Fi Elements of Gunsmoke

Matt Dillon: man or mutant?

By Ray X

"What's wrong with these kids nowadays?  All they want to watch on TV are crazy superheroes and monsters.  When I was growing up we had good quality TV shows, westerns, that were based on reality."

Indeed, disgruntled baby boomer.  TV westerns were realistic.

Take the most popular western series, Gunsmoke.  Unrealistic?  Never.

On second thought...

Gunsmoke followed the adventures of our hero US Marshall Matt Dillon and his friends in Dodge City, Kansas.  Ever hear the phrase ""Get out of Dodge?"  Look no further than this show.

Standard scene: a bad guy has the drop on a good guy, his finger firmly placed on the trigger.  But a quick move by the good guy, striking the bad guy's wrist, and the gun flew away, no shot fired.

One would expect striking a gun holder's hand would result in a pulled trigger.  Ergo good guy drilled.  But in Gunsmoke World a shootist just automatically releases his gun, tossing it aside.   Maybe good guys have some sort of power like the Force, knowing where to hit that special nerve.

Speaking of guns they possess a special feature in Gunsmoke World.  Shoot someone, just one bullet, and he falls asleep, instant dirt nap zap.  No crying out in pain, no writhing in agony.  Compare that to the unrealistic Star Trek phaser set to stun.

Occasionally someone lives long enough to utter some last words before he's embraced by eternal oblivion.  But usually the bad guys just flop down, not even a groan.  And let's not forget getting stabbed, a knife in the back. Yup, a sharp blade provides swift lifelessness.

Matt Dillon was the exception to the instant death by bullet rule.  He was always getting winged in the arm or worse took one to the belly.  But no matter how bad the wound he survived the day.  Over the run of the series Matt endured multiple gunshots.  Swiss cheese Dillon would fully recover without previous wounds slowing him down.  Was he really a mutant with regenerative self-healing power like the Marvel superhero Wolverine?

A bad guy would hit Matt in the head, knocking him unconscious, and our hero would never suffer permanent damage.  Matt would shrug it off like a mild cold.  No subdural hematoma for him.

In one episode a head blow really rung his bell.  The ringing lasted for most of the episode, Matt seeing double vision, barely able to walk around without help.  At the episode's conclusion a bad guy shoved him to the ground, inducing another bean banger.  But this second blow restored Matt's vision back to normal so he could take out the bad guys.  Another mutant power?

Yes, TV westerns like Gunsmoke taught valuable lessons to young viewers like shooting someone results in a painless permanent sleep.  So keep the kids away from those crazy superhero and monster shows.  A twisted sense of reality will warp their young impressible minds. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Dialing For Destruction

Just set that dial, load, drop and -- boom or BOOOM!

I was joking around with someone about a bad 1960s sci-fi novel called “The Day They H-Bombed  Los Angeles” by Robert Moore Williams.  Who was bombing LA?  While our government, of course, trying to contain a plague caused by a rogue protein molecule turning humans into howling zombies.  But our hero and his friends live to tell the tale after the City of Angels is H-Bombed three – count 'em – three times.

I joked the government must have been using low-yield H-Bombs.

And while I was Googling to see what was out there for low-yield A-Bombs I came across a reference to variable yield or dial-a-yield nukes.  Some nukes can be adjusted before they're loaded on bombers.  There was the Mod-10 B61 bomb that had four dial settings: 0.3, 5, 10 or 80 kilotons.

So what would happen if the technician setting the dial was upset, the-wife-had-a-headache-last-night scenario?  The dial is supposed to be at its lowest yield but the technician says screw it, ramps it up to 80 kilotons.

Dialing for destruction.  The greatest idea since the neutron bomb that would slaughter people but leave buildings standing.

A Quiet Place: Aw, C'mon!

Pile it on!

Sometimes I skip to the end of a book or movie to see if it's going to be worth my time to eXperience the whole thing.

But some people say, “How can you enjoy a fictional work if you know the ending?”  Simple.  I've always been interested in writing fiction – never been published – and along the way I've learned how a work is constructed.  I can enjoy fiction on another level, seeing how well it was put together.

The film A Quiet Place had a great premise: blind aliens have invaded our planet and they can only detect human victims through sound.  Make a noise and you're dead.

I did notice that these carnivorous critters with their blindness can run around all over, at one point panically racing away in a beeline, without slamming into trees or and other objects.   They even don't even slip on something like Little Johnny's damn skateboard left in the driveway or one of Curt Collins' banana peels.  But let's leave that aside.

I watched about the first third of the movie then skipped to the ending.  OK, the ending works.  So then I watch the middle part.  Uh-oh.

I hate crisis clustering, everything happening at once to all the characters.  It's just unbelievable that most characters survive three or four threats at the same time.  The kids are missing.  Their father is searches for them, monsters prowling the cornfields.  Unfortunately Lassie isn't around to tell him the poor kids fell into a grain silo, trapped.  (With all that annoying barking Lassie produced she was probably one of the first ones to become a monster meal.)  Meanwhile back at the ranch mother and baby are being stalked by a hungry space critter.  And wombats are rampaging across Wisconsin!

This is compound melodrama, putting the characters in such impossible situations, threats in all directions.   Save the kids, save the mom, and get those freakin' wombats out of Wisconsin!

Sorry but I don't buy it.  A good story doesn't need a danger pileup to build suspense.

My place wasn't quiet as I watch the disappointing middle part.  Guffaws and scorn permeated the air.  Technically a well made movie, good acting and direction, but the distended middle didn't work.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Opposing Viewpoints

Besides this blog I also have an ezine that includes posts from here with the addition of a letters column.  In the last issue -- Ray X X-Rayer #141 -- Bob Jennings (Fadeaway zine) wrote in his LOC some negative comments regarding Dr. Robin Wright.  Robin is known for submitting dense philosophical essays addressing science fiction symbolism.  Below is Robin's email to me which includes Bob Jennings' criticism.

* * *

Subject: Sick and not a doctor   
robin usher<>
Attachment - Sat, Sep 15, 2018 at 9:43 PM

Hi, I wrote to Robert asking him to retract these remarks that somehow found their way into what at first sight seemed a fairly innocuous letter to X - Ray # 141.
However, he wrote that it was his opinion, although I've never written anything remotely approaching this as a summarization of my writing, '... evil womankind is corrupting the human race and destroying civilization.' I'm appending a letter so that the readers of X - Ray can make up their own minds, if that's acceptable to you?

Dr Robin Bright PhD

(NOTE FROM RAY: What follows is Bob Jennings' LOC comment Bright reprinted in his email.  He didn't indicate the source.)

'“Dr”. Robin Bright sent a lot of articles to me years ago, hoping to get something in my fanzine Fadeaway. Needless to say I accepted nothing he wrote. I think the guy is a genuine nut case. Everything he ever writes, no matter how well it starts out, quickly turns into a tirade about “women’s seed”, and how evil womankind is corrupting the human race and destroying civilization. The stuff is not unintentionally humorous; it’s just sick and sad, and not even logically written either. I admit I was shocked when one of his articles appeared in one of John Purcell’s fanzines. I’m glad John has since repented that rash decision and has disassociated himself from “Dr.” Bright.'

* * *

(And this is what Bright wrote in his attached doc file:)

Robert Jennings of Fadeaway suggested I was sick, and not a doctor, in a letter to X –Ray, # 141, September, 2018. I don’t want to be sick, and I take exception to being told that this summarizes what I write, '... evil womankind is corrupting the human race and destroying civilization.' (p. 4) Moreover, I think that English is a beautiful language, and I don’t want it to be plain. However, this is as plain as I can make it, without being a muzzle ‘em:

Flesh Fiction 

Bartholomew made a stab at what appeared to be a large fat sausage on his plate. Moving aside what looked like a couple of large potatoes, he made another stab at the apparent sausage, `Phew! It`d be difficult for the woman to sexually reproduce human brains without her penis.` Bartholomew chewed on fully thoughtful.

Robin Bright

*  *  *
In a follow-up email Robin Bright wrote:

Subject: "Dr"
robin usher

Hi Ray, although I studied Human Biology (O) at school, it wasn't to the level of a Professorial chair. I quite understand your decision not to publish an article. Please, go ahead and publish my letter.

Robin Bright

* * *
Information about Robin Bright can be found here.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Strung Along With QAnon

Image by D. Marshall

Unelected governmental officials really control the US, lurking in the background, evil, nebulous.  The Deep State.  Out to get Trump.

Yeah, right.  I've heard it all before.  Communists, the Illuminati, whatever, boogeymen striking fear in the hearts and minds of non-critical thinkers.

But have no fear -- QAnon is here.

QAnon followers showed up at a Trump rally, proudly displaying their "Q" signs.  So far no bigots unaware of what the Q symbolizes have attacked any of these sign-holders, driven by homophobic rage.  The Q refers to Q-level clearance with the Department of Energy, i.e. top secret clearance.  The Anon is short for Anonymous.

QAnon's beliefs are all based on material shared first posted in October 2017 on the 4chan image-board site where a poster can hide his identity.  An anonymous poster or group referred to itself as Q with the inference that the items of  information being shared -- "bread crumbs" --  originated from someone in the intelligence community.

QAnon is dedicated to protecting Trump from the Deep State.  But there's an unique twist to its version of reality.  Special counsel Robert Mueller, Department of Justice, seems to be investigating Trump for any collusion with Russia but appearances are deceptive.  The truth is Mueller is on Trump's side, secretly looking for criminal evidence on Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama.

The QAnon followers are the same type of true believers who thought Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor in Washington, DC was a front for Hillary's child trafficking operation. In December 2016 Edgar Maddison Welch from North Carolina -- wielding a semi-automatic rifle -- entered the eatery as part of his personal investigation into "Pizzagate."  He fired a few shots but no one was injured.  The police arrested him and he is now serving a four year prison sentence.

Welch stated that he wanted to stop children from suffering, adding he was mistaken in his belief regarding the fantasy of the child sex ring.

So will QAnon lead to similar "mistakes?"  It already has happened.

There was an incident last summer in Arizona. QAnon believer Michael Lewis Arthur Meyer occupyied a cement plant he suspected being the front for another child sex-trafficking operation.  Previously he reported to police that a homeless encampment was the site of a trafficking ring but they found nothing, So the next month he occupied a cement plant tower for nine days.  He left after police again found no evidence of any trafficking operation.  But Meyer came back to the plant and this second trespass led to his arrest.  No mention of weapons or any violence.

But a second incident in Arizona was more problematic.   A QAnon follower named Matthew Phillip Wright (don't any of these guys only have a first and last name?) blocked the southbound lanes at the Hoover Dam bridge with his semi-armored truck.  Armed with a rifle he stood outside his vehicle displaying a sign: "Release the OIG report."  This apparently referred to a purported Office of the Inspector General second hidden report on former FBI director James Comey's activities, the released report concealing the truth, Wright was later taken into custody with no one being hurt.

QAnon believers suffer from delusional gullibility.  How bad is it?  One time Trump mentioned the number 17 a few times in a speech, supposedly his coded acknowledgement of Q.  You see Q is the seventeenth letter in the alphabet.

So how's your reality?

Monday, September 03, 2018

Do White Supremacists Hate Gray Aliens?

A Trump supporter told me: "It doesn't matter what happens.  Everything is going to fall apart anyway."

I hardly ever watch Fox News, Trump's favorite TV "news" channel.  At times FN will make a false statement and the "president" will repeat it.  I have enough bullshit in my life, thank you.

But the other night I was flipping through 100+ cable channels for something worthwhile to watch when I caught mention of alien abduction on one of FN's talking heads programs.  The Miami Herald endorsed a GOP primary candidate who ran for a Florida House seat despite revealing she had been abducted as a child by aliens and was still in telepathic contact with them. The candidate, Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, lost the nomination.

The Greg Gutfeld Show -- which features the cackling host and his guests discussing topical issues -- had focused on this item.  This show is known for its "comedic" take on the news.

There was a purported comedy piece showing three animated gray aliens illuminated with brilliant backlighting slowly walking towards the viewer.  They shared their thoughts, saying they found Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera to be a charming person.  Then they added they were looking forward to invading Earth and devouring humans "skull by skull."  I imagine an alien monitoring Earth communications said to itself: "These hairless apes are still too dumb to contact. No gut laughs with Gutfeld."

Only two guests found nothing wrong with the candidates strange beliefs.  Terry Schappert, United States Army National Guard Special Forces veteran, said he had no problems as long as the candidate -- "this gal" -- supported Republican goals such lowering taxes, doing away with government regulation, and supporting a strong national defense. (He didn't mention other glorious Republican goals such as killing off "useless eaters" who can't afford health insurance and stopping those "uppity Negro" football players from kneeling during the national anthem in protest to racism.)

The host Greg Gutfeld had the last word, explaining why they were no aliens out there.  In a serious tone he said other extraterrestrial civilizations had followed mankind's path to extinction.  As he kept looking down at his notes he stated a civilization would evolve on another planet, developing technology to the point that artificial intelligence took other and eliminated that civilization.  (Sounds like someone is a fan of the Terminator movies.)

His "reasoning" had one glaring flaw: Couldn't the AI overlords on other planets be contacting people on Earth?

Greg said in 200 years we would end up the same way, extinct.  This explains why people like him don't worry about pollution and climate change.  It's all going to fall apart anyway.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Chloe -- How Could You?


Actress Allison Mack -- or at least her Smallville character Chloe Sullivan -- appeared to be so innocent but independent.  That's why allegations about her sadistic involvement in a sex cult shocked me.

From what has been reported the path to her arrest began when she met Keith Raniere, leader of the group called Nxivm (pronounced BULL-shit.)  Apparently Raniere filled a need in Allison.  Despite her success in Smallville -- a TV series about young Clark Kent before he became Superman -- there was still something missing in her life.

Nxivm had different organizations under its aegis.  Allison first attended a seminar held by Jness which promoted itself as a women's empowerment movement that would bring personal growth to its members.

The story goes as part of her personal growth Allison would become Rainere's #2, running another organization called DOS, Dominus Obsequious Sororium, or Master Over Slave Women.  Allegedly Allison would recruit sex slaves into the cult to service Raniere. Prosecutors have reported that DOS recruits would be initiated by being held down as a cauterizing pen burned a brand into their skin, a symbol that combined the initials of both Raniere and Allison.

New York federal prosecutors indicted Rainere and Allison with felony counts including sex trafficking.

In one Smallville episode Chloe Sullivan became evil after being exposed to red kryptonite.  I would like to watch that episode again.  Maybe some of Allison's negative side was showing through.

After all each of us has a dark side.


"How Did Smallville's Allison Mack Get Involved With A Sex Cult In The First Place?" | HuffPost

"I Was Recruited by Allison Mack’s Sex Cult" By Rachel Goldberg

"Her Darkest Role: Actress Allison Mack's Descent From 'Smallville' to Sex Cult"
by Scott Johnson, Rebecca Sun  May 16, 2018

Bill Messner-Loebs Keeps Going Despite Another Setback

IMAGE By User:Meowwcat, Public Domain,
Some creative people never have it easy.

Outlets for their work dry up.  And their own personal life -- not easy to begin with -- is compounded when the income they counted on is gone.

Bill Messner-Loebs is a writer/artist who had a good run in comics books with such titles as Wonder Woman, Thor and The Flash.  But the market changed, he was no longer in demand. Back in 2005 Bill and his wife were living in a motel, just getting by.  After the story about his situation became known fans rallied and he was able to get some more comic book work.

Bill had owned a home but his mother and wife became sick.  He was evicted when he couldn't keep up with the bills. 

But he got back on his feet, living in a mobile home in a nice trailer park for 15 years.  Then bad luck paid another call.  There was a gas leak in his mobile home that made it uninhabitable.

Bill and his wife found themselves homeless, living in their car. He has been working two part-time jobs to keep their heads above water.

If you can help you can donate at


Comic Book Wife  TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2005

"smiling in the Face of Adversity"

"Comic book artist worked on Wonder Woman & Thor, now homeless"  By: Derek Kevra     POSTED: MAR 27 2018 09:35AM EDT