Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Pose By Any Other Name

Hugh Mungus?

I supposed to believe an article by Hugh Mungus?

I came across this writer's name over at . Sorry, that name sounds too much like a joke. Even if it's his real name, I can't take anything written by him seriously. It requires a humongous leap of faith. What's next? A flying saucer report from Biggus Dickus?

There's the fringe newspaper, The Sovereign, that reads like The Onion on a bad hit of LSD. Check out its line-up of dubious bylines: Donald "Pogo" Meserlin, PE; Socrcha Faal; T. Weed; Putty; and even Death Dentist. And let's not overlook Sarah Conner, Human Resistance Leader, and Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fiction comes to life? I don't think so.

Trust is important when it comes to appearances. And you can trust me or my name isn't Ray X.

80 Years Old And Still Saucering

He's been there from the beginning, back in the days when the buzzword was flying saucers, not UFOs. He's been involved both in ufology -- documenting strange cases but also exposing hoaxers -- and ufoology -- perpetrating a few hoaxes of his own. A combination of believer, skeptic and trickster all rolled into one.

Jim Moseley will be 80 years old on August 4th. Note to UFO researchers: better interview Jim now or before you know it, time will fly by and the opportunity will be lost.

Best wishes, cards, money can be sent to him at PO Box 1709, Key West, Florida 33041. You can email him at -- indirectly, that is. He has an associate editor that will pass along your messages. Jim eschews the digital revolution, especially what he calls the Dreaded Net. I suspect he doesn't trust all the alien tech given to us from the Roswell Crash. That's why he still puts together each issue of his non-scheduled zine, Saucer Smear, with a typewriter, scissors and tape.

But Jim isn't a complete Luddite; he has a phone: (305) 294-2270. Call if you suspect he isn't real. I know I call on occasion just to make sure he exists. In fact, considering his energy and rebelliousness, 80 years young would be a better description.

Happy Birthday, Jim.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Publish Or Privish

Privish. A word formed from "privately published."

In a negative sense it means a strategy by a book publisher to sabotage the release of a controversial book. For example, the book "DuPont: Behind the Nylon Curtain" by Gerard Colby was privished after a DuPont family member raised a stink after seeing an advanced copy of the book. Due to pressure, the publisher Prentice-Hall cut the number of copies for distribution and slashed the advertising budget.

In a neutral or positive sense privish can also mean a choice by a writer to limit distribution of printed works to very few people. The advantage of this type of privishing is that is only shared with readers who are really interested in the work, not its format or status.

Some people consider this type of privishing in a negative light because it implies that the members of the writer's inner circle won't criticize the writing. I don't mind criticism if it's constructive and practical.

So when it comes to my words on paper, call me Ray X, Privisher.

ADDENDUM: 8/14/11

I decided to have my own take on privish. In my case it's going to mean "privileged publishing." Privish in the sense of private publishing is pronounced "prie-vish." Privish with my new definition is pronounced "priv-ish." So those still receiving my paper zine should feel privileged -- all two of you. [G]

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Zine Or Blog: Why The Great Divide?

There was another issue I wanted to discuss in my last post but decided that it warranted its own entry.

My bastard hybrid zine.

I started as a paper zinester and over the years I find myself a blogger first, then a zinester. I think some people are upset that my zine has become a collection of my blog posts.

Why do I think that? Well, when a zinester says that paper should never reproduce photons, that online and offline writing must be separate, I kinda notice.

I also notice when a zinester states that he will never put email and web addresses in his paper publication; he only deals with snail mail.

Each to his own but...

Why does it have to be one or the other? It seems a creator has to declare his allegiance to either the paper brigade or the digital legion, nothing in-between.

In fact, some of the paper types act as if the Web is evil incarnate, destroying their dead tree way of life. Years ago there was one zinester who warned to stay away from the Internet because it was an opportunity for "They" to spy and track you. As if no one ever sneaks a peak at snail mail or taps a phone.

Some zinesters act as if the Web lobby is going to outlaw snail mail and paper. "They'll have to take my rebuilt mimeograph machine from my cold dead hands!" That sort of thing.

I know there must be online counterparts to the paper only crowd, people who think that everything should be digital, proclaiming death to all traditional physical formats. I don't buy that hyper-logic either. I do like books, magazines, newspapers, zines.

I do a fair amount of surfing and so far I haven't encountered any digital elitists. But I have encountered a few meatspace ones in the zines I've read.

This zine-or-blog controversy -- screw it.

When it comes to writing, the medium ain't the message.

And if you're getting bored like I am with this zine talk, don't worry. Because when it comes to zining, I'm through worrying at all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ray X Violates Key Zinester Commandment!

I have broken one of the sacred commandments of print zinesterdom:


I became aware of this vile transgression through Randy Robbins of Narcolepsy Press Review. He wrote a review of my zine, Ray X X-Rayer (#80), mentioning that it comes out "pretty regularly" and that the last issue feature images of crucified Santas on the cover, a layout he thought was "cool." Then he goes on why he has a problem with the latest issue.

At this point I thought he would write about the contents of #80, why he didn't care for my articles. After all, a review should at least give the reader a brief lowdown on what subjects the writor covers, his POV and style. If I was reviewing Narco I would summarize what is included besides short zine takes.

But I'm here to review a review. Most of Randy's words regarding XR #80 isn't the contents and my opinions but the new price for my zine:

"But with this issue I couldn't believe what I was reading. The last bit about how he's now charging for the zine and he deserves two bucks for his work and worse, that it'll just end soon anyway, just came off not cool. So if you never ordered it when it was free, now that's it two bucks, how about it?"

Ray X not cool? Horrors. What will the hipsters say?

(I hope Randy has a sense of humor.)

In a note he included with his zine Randy warned me with "Not the best review this time around." OK, some people don't like my writing. Fine. But Randy's focus was on my on $2.00 charge per issue. He advised me that I could only charge that for a 16 page zine.

My reply: Quality over quantity. I've received zines that were packed with pages -- mostly unreadable pages, content and print standards. Not worth a buck. My zine ain't slick but it's readable and some readers find it interesting.

And as I tried to eXplain before, I have limited time, money and energy. Blogging is very efficient, minimal cost. I have creative projects besides this Ray X gig, especially after six months of winter around here, being cooped up in this shoe box apartment. (That's why I haven't been blogging that much lately.)

I'd rather be doing other things than prepping a print zine and getting it out in the mail. (Sorry to repeat myself, regular readers of my genius.) I'd rather be researching and writing, not sorting, folding, stamping pieces of paper.

And don't take that last line as a put down of print zines. I like print zines. I'm just not into running a charitable operation while doing one. Once again, budget constraints.

I can live with a bad review for my zine but a bad bad review? It was like reading a movie critic's take on a film and all he does is complain about the price of the ticket to get in and says next to nothing about the movie's plot or theme.

In his note Randy wrote that he was "disheartened to read my cynical words" regarding the price for my zine. Sorry, Randy, I think my words are practical, not cynical.

I do things my own way. Maybe some think that I'm the Joe Eszterhas of zinedom, that all I want is top dollar. Look at my blog. No charge. I'm giving enough away for free as it is.

$2.00 for my print zine? Live with it.

[NOTE: Despite the bad bad review I received, Narcolepsy Press Review #7 is worth a couple of bucks. Send well-concealed cash to Randy Robbins, PO Box 17131, Anaheim, CA 92817-7131 .]

[NOTE: I've been told blog posts should never run over 500 words. This one clocks in over 650. Another vile transgression!]