Monday, August 23, 2010

Mary Roach Is Going At It Again

Yes, snarky science writer Mary Roach penned a book about sex research. No, the book wasn't called Stiff.

Stiff was about decaying corpses; Bonk is about copulating live bodies (well, for the most part. There is mention of autoerotic death and whether a beating-heart cadaver could have an orgasm if properly stimulated). Mary goes at her subject with the usual curiosity and irreverence befitting a woman who was raised as a strict Catholic. (Too strict, of course. Press down on that spring all you want but someday -- BOING! Or in this case, BONK!)

Bonk is subtitled The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. That coupling part also includes Mary and her husband who volunteer to have an intimate moment recorded by dynamic 3D ultrasound imaging. Why bother with dull regular ultrasound for such an occasion? Just go all the way.

Going solo Mary gets some hands-on experience with a photoplethysmograph probe used to gauge her reactions while watching videos both neutral and erotic. Besides physical reactions, psychological responses were also recorded with the arousometer. One would think such a device would be high tech, using a PET scan to monitor brain activity, but actually it's nothing but a lever similar to a car's automatic transmission shifter operated by the subject to indicate her reactions. She moves the lever up and down to record her level of arousal. Of course, a computer touchscreen would work as well but then the Freudian symbolism is lost.

And Mary makes this poignant observation, one that brings laughter to MIB's:

"Orgasm appears to be a state not unlike that of the alien abductees one always hears about, coming to with messy hair and a chunk of time unaccounted for."

Along the way the reader will also encounter the postage stamp tumescence test, the Smithsonian Institution penis bone collection, the Thrillhammer, and even clamping vaginas.

At one point Mary refers to a scene from the Woody Allen movie, Annie Hall. This supposedly explains her book's dedication: For Woody.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Smell Bad? Off To Camp With You

I wonder how this story will play with the New World Order conspiracy crowd.

Basing his ideas on the Civilian Conservation Corps program of the Great Depression, politician Carl Paladino wants to transform under-used New York State prisons into special dorms (or camps) for people on welfare. Such a center would train welfare recipients to acquire new skills. Also -- according to gubernatorial candidate Paladino -- the campers would be given lessons in "personal hygiene."

Of course this program would be voluntary. (Did you know filing an income tax form annually is also "voluntary?") Out-of-work prison guards would become counselors for such a dorm set-up. After years of walking the cell blocks with billy clubs, I wonder how many guards would have an affinity to "counsel" someone.

As Paladino explained in an Associated Press article: ""Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we'll teach people how to earn their check. We'll teach them personal hygiene ... the personal things they don't get when they come from dysfunctional homes."

Is Paladino out of touch with reality? Well, he is a wealthy real estate developer of the Republican stripe. Quick, Carl, what does a quart of milk and a loaf of bread cost? What's the minimum wage in New York State? Hey, don't turn to your aide for the answers.

Now the NWO alarmists might say this is the first step. Round up the smelly people first. Next will be the ones who don't smell but still need a job. Then the ones who don't get behind the program, those disloyal to American principles.

Paladino says his special camps would train welfare recipients to become state employees, working at state parks or in public service or even in "military service." Gee, does that last one include brown shirt uniforms?

For some reason Paladino is a favorite of the Tea Party. I thought the Tea Baggers opposed socialism and the government control that presumably goes with it. Maybe they're also NWO dupes.

Source: "NY candidate: Prison dorms for welfare recipients" By Bethy Fouhy (AP)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Zine Zone Updated

Over at my Website,, I've updated the Zine Zone archives once again for my snail mail zine. I've simplified the layout to save time for myself. The latest issues of the Ray X X-Rayer, #75 and #76, will be found in the 2010 file. After you click on that file you will find links in ascending order, oldest to the newest, the latest issues at the end, of course.

For those unaware of my zine, it collects posts from this blog into an easy-to-print format (PDF). I used to put links on the main page for my Website but I'm getting burnt out with computers, HTML and all the rest. I trying to keep things as simple as possible. The main page will announce when a new zine has been archived but without a link.

Speaking of computer burn out, I almost threw my HP printer out the window. Even though I had converted a color image into grayscale and the set the printer to grayscale, pink blotches were showing up in the B&W images. After wasting a lot of time, ink and paper, I found the solution: the stupid HP printer has to be told to print grayscale images using only black ink. I had to check the box for Use Black Ink. Yes, computers save time, especially with user-unfriendly programs and useless Help files.

I was using Open Office and while I support free open source programs, I want to use programs that WORK. Open Office is supposed to be compatible with Word documents but it kept screwing up. In fact, it would even screw up with a RTF (rich text document) file, wrecking the format, making it unfixable. So I uninstalled Open Office. Good riddance.

I do miss one feature with Open Office, the option to convert a .doc file into PDF. That worked great. But when the file is screwed up, who wants to covert it to PDF? I use CutePDF to convert and it's OK. I might just stop screwing around with PDF and archive my zine files as plain RFT so that any word processing program can open them.

Then again I might stop print zining. I'm down to a handful of subscribers -- actually swappers -- and in a few cases what I receive in return is semi-readable junk, print too small or poor overall quality. Maybe that sounds elitist to you. I don't expect a zine have slick, high production standards. If it's a bit rough around the edges, OK, but it should at least have minimal quality. And with these aging orbs, I don't need the eyestrain.

* * *

ADDENDUM: Forget RTF. I always thought that format would give you a smaller file than a .doc file. But after some eXperimenting I found that when I converted a Word document of around 800k to RTF, the RTF one bloated to over 10 MB. It seems that images really blow up the file. And even when I start from scratch, starting with a RFT file and adding images, it ends up being much bigger than a .doc file. Amazing. I always thought RTF had less bloat than a Word document. And with limited space at my Website, the smaller the better when it comes to uploads.

With RFT I lose formatting and my headers (issue # and page #). But with PDF conversion I end up with a smaller file that retains all formatting. Good thing I checked this out now than waiting to do it later when I wanted to archive my next zine.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

X This Date: August 4

Mark a big X on your calendar: Wednesday, August 4. Why? It's the birthday of Supreme Commander James W. Moseley. If my math is correct, Jim is 79.

I want to include a photo of Jim with this post and so I'll type "james moseley" "saucer smear" into Google for an image search. Now here's a shot of him:

OK, wrong image. Google isn't perfect. Let's try again:

That's better.

The last issue of Saucer Smear took a while to arrive via snail mail. Jim states in every edition that it's a NON-SCHEDULED NEWSLETTER -- meaning he publishes it whenever he gets around to it. (My zine is also NSN.) But some readers noticed a long gap in his non-schedule. A while ago Jim had a fall and it took a while for him to recover. Apparently he's OK because the last issue of Smear is on target as usual.

For a sample copy, mail two dollars US to James Moseley, PO Box 1709, Key West, Florida 33041. Maybe you can hide the cash inside a birthday card.

Happy Birthday, Jim.