Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Space Cadets And The Starship Enterprise
James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Starship Enterprise, and his team drop in on the planet Mythra, a world settled eons ago by humans who fled the planet Earth. Beaming down via transporter, Kirk & Co. materialize in a public square but the inhabitants are unimpressed. The Mythrans just walk by, a "silly happy look on their faces."
This scene seems typical of any Star Trek adventure during the original run of the TV series. Except this adventure takes place in the pages of the book, Mission to Horatius, a novel for young readers by Mack Reynolds with illustrations by Sparky Moore (1968, Western Publishing Company). Not a bad story; it's in the same style of the TV show. Nothing unusual until I find out why Mythrans have silly happy expressions. They've been dosed with anodyne, a local form of LSD.
Let Dr. McCoy, the Enterprise's doctor, explain:
"I would have to analyze it further in my laboratory on the ship; however, this drink contains a very effective hallucinogen, related, I suspect, to was one called lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD-twenty-five, on Earth. Its use in the Federation has long been discontinued, even by medical authorities."
The anodyne is described as poison. OK, this is a book for young readers back in the days where weirdo hippies wanted to be put LSD in your breakfast cereal (or so claimed the right-wing conservatives of the day). What's interesting in light of the CIA and its MK-Ultra experiments -- unknown by the public at large back in 1968 -- the anodyne is used as a form of mind control by the ruling Mythran priesthood.
And one of the away team, Ensign Chekov, drank some. He's happy to hand over his weapon to the enemy. A Sparky Moore illustration shows Chekov tripping away, unlike the rest of Kirk & Co.
There's a medical subplot in Mission to Horatius: Doctor McCoy is very concerned about the Enterprise crew being in space too long, confined within the ship. He's worried that a condition called cafard is starting to grip the crew. According to Science Officer Spock, cafard results from "the instinctive dread of a species, born on a planet surface, of living outside its native environment" compounded with claustrophobia and boredom.
I think to myself: Hey, why not give the crew some anodyne? Not a daily dose that the Mythran priesthood requires of its followers. Oops, that won't fly, not in this story. Drugs are bad, always bad. (Later in the Star Trek franchise, a device called the holodeck is introduced, a virtual reality created by realistic holograms. Tripping not chemically but through high tech.)
At this point in the book I'm reminded of the great blow up between the producers of the first Star Trek TV series and Hardon Ellison over the script for the episode, City on the Edge of Forever.
In this story the Enterprise discovers a space-time portal on the surface of a barren planet. McCoy is accidentally injected with a drug, becomes delusional, and he ends up going through the portal into Earth's past. Kirk and Spock have to go after him because he's somehow screwed up the timeline; the Enterprise no longer exists.
The producers had a number of issues with Ellison's first and second treatments for City of the Edge of Forever, mainly budgetary constraints and the script being delivered so late. One point the producers wanted changed was the involvement of "two drug-crazed, deranged characters." In the original treatment the person who causes the chronal screw-up isn't McCoy but a drug-dealer aboard the Enterprise who flees into the portal. The producers didn't want any such deviants among the clean cut starship crew.
This incident is recounted in the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, coauthored by the producers Herbert S. Solow and Robert H. Justman (1996, Pocket Books). Even though Ellison revised his script, the producers found it still to expensive to shoot and it was eventually re-written by four other writers, including Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.
Of course, egocentric Hardon Ellison -- a man hard on himself and everyone else -- ended up in a serious dispute with Roddenberry. Maybe Ellison needed a dose of anodyne to put a silly happy face on his mug.
But despite its difficult birth City of the Edge of Forever is a ST classic, even with the deletion of two deranged druggie characters.
While the onscreen side of Star Trek remained drug-free, it wasn't the same off screen, at least for the series creator.
On pages 374-375 of Inside Star Trek it's mentioned that Roddenberry took pills to stay awake while doing rewrites and later he graduated to "the use of other mood-altering substances." Roddenberry liked to roll his own funny cigarettes.
Producer Justman had a problem with Roddenberry's drug use, especially in light of the fact was Roddenberry was an ex-cop.
But what's so surprising that a cop or an ex-cop feels entitled to break the law? Isn't such cutting corners one of the benefits of being a law-enforcement officer?
One time I read an letter to the editor in a local newspaper from a ST fan who was upset that a writer portrayed Trekkies/Trekkers as space cadets. That was a smear, said the fan, not true. There was no real connection between drug use and being a ST fan.
And while most of the people involved in Star Trek don't fit the stoner stereotype, it's ironical that its creator -- a man who wanted no drug-dealers on his starship -- fell far short of the ideal Starfleet hero.
Or maybe Roddenberry should be forgiven. He could've been suffering from a severe bout of space cafard.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Moseley, Nazca Lines and the Cosmic Balance
Was Jim Moseley the first to make the connection?
A while ago I was talking telephonically (not telepathically) with Jim, editor of Saucer Smear, about an article he wrote for my blog dealing with the Nazca lines in Peru. Back in the 1950s he visited that area and formulated the theory that the lines were evidence of mankind's contact with beings beyond this world, a theory he shared in Fate magazine.
I asked him if he was the one who originated the idea, years before Erich Von Daniken came on the scene. Jim, who at times can be humble, declined to make that statement.
At some point I was going to dig into the matter via Google but I never got around to it.
Recently Jim sent me a copy of a snail mail letter from an online reader, a Curt Collins of Jackson, MS, who did the research, proving that Jim is indeed the first to publicly propose the theory. Collins cites an entry from the Skeptic's Dictionary site that James W. Moseley originated the idea in his article in the October 1955 issue of Fate magazine. Collins mentions that other online citations can be found.
Jim is amused by this because he no longer believes the Nazca lines are patterns on a ET landing area.
As these things work out, Von Daniken took Jim's idea, ran with it, and made a good chunk of change with books like Chariots of the Gods. But Jim plugs away in relatively obscurity, no bestseller books footing his bills, putting out his UFO zine, Saucer Smear, a labor of love, not money. If you want to compensate for this gross cosmic imbalance, send two dollars (US bills) to James Moseley, PO Box 1709, Key West, FL 33041 for a sample copy of Smear. After all, Jim makes more sense than Von Daniken with 90 per cent less BS.
Support cosmic balance.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Vortex Or Void
On Dec. 21st, 2012 at 11:11 Universal Time "UFO Lawyer" Peter Gersten will take a leap of faith from a towering summit in Sedona, Arizona. He will enter an interdimensional portal to elsewhere -- or not.
It's a somewhat complicated story about how Gersten came to this decision. At his Website -- 11:11 Invitation 2012 -- he explains how the symbolism of 11:11 took on sudden importance in his life. In October 1998 Gersten noticed that 11:11 and its variations (1111, 111,11) kept popping up at different times and places, more than any other number combination, with digital devices and even with other shapes and forms. He wondered about the significance of these events.
On the Internet some people learned that they were not alone, others were also seeing 11:11 in a special context. For example, when someone happened to check his digital watch, the time would be 11:11, the number occurring more than random chance. Seeing that number would cause a strange sensation, a sense of something greater than mere coincidence.
From this a concept grew that there was a mystical connection, that the 11:11 phenomena was part of enlightenment and spiritual ascension. After spending most of his life dealing with the practicalities of law, it seems Gersten had no problem embracing this New Age belief despite the lack of solid evidence.
Then again, Gersten in one way wasn't a practical lawyer. A legal practitioner since 1970, he ended up with the nickname of UFO Lawyer because of his interest in uncovering the truth about aerial phenomena. From 1997 to 2000 he represented different UFO groups, filing FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests to gain access to records held by various governmental agencies.
He was also involved in the personal injury lawsuit filed by Betty Cash, Vicky and Colby Landrum who claimed there were exposed to radiation during an UFO encounter in the Texas countryside one night in December 1980. The UFO was shaped like an upright diamond, spewing flame and heat from its bottom opening. Many military helicopters were in the area. The implication of the Cash-Landrum case was the device was an out-of-control government experiment. The case was dismissed because the plaintiffs couldn't prove their story.
I wonder if the outcome of that case was a key factor in the formation of Gersten's 11:11 WS (winter solstice) 2012 belief. After all, his clients had health issues and if the US government was indeed responsible, then seeing it escape any responsibility would sour one's world view, creating a need for some sort of positive validation to existence. Just speculation on my part.
One key influence that Gersten does share is a scene from the made-for-TV adaptation of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. Gersten didn't have a chance to watch the entire series when it originally ran (January 1980) but four years ago he viewed it on videotape. He describes the mini-series as poor and boring. No argument there.
In the series people from Earth are settling Mars which has a generally terran climate and atmosphere. It's suspected that Martians -- who supposedly died out eons before -- still lurk about. Gersten at his site shares a clip from the series that had a great impact on his life. In the scene a religious leader, Father Peregrine, wants to prove that the Martians are still alive. Three glowing globes approach him in the barren wilderness. To prove they are real, he leaps from the cliff and before he hits the ground, one of the globes saves him.
To Gersten this was the only gem in the entire muck of the miniseries. He was so affected by that scene he replayed it again and again. Despite the poor quality of the clip at his site, it's obvious the scene is shot in a location with red cliffs and summits. Looks familiar. Like photos I've seen of Sedona, Arizona.
The summit where Gersten plans his leap of faith is Bell Rock, so called because it's roughly shaped like a bell. Bell Rock and other areas in Sedona are known for "vortexes," places of increased earth energies that can raise self-awareness and promote healing. To Gersten this all ties in, vortexes, 11:11 symbolism, winter solstice 2012. Apparently he believes that some sort of super-vortex will occur. transporting him through an interdimensional doorway to the galactic center and Eternity.
Will he be leaping into a higher reality -- or just into the black unknown?
Sunday, March 20, 2011
No More Free Zine
I open up the envelope. A few dollar bills, another request for my zine.
It dawns on me: Why am I giving away my zine for free online? Why am I bothering to convert the file into a PDF and going through the process of uploading to my Web site, then not even seeing one comment for my effort?
Everyone reads my blog for free. I don't make a dime. There are no ads on my blog. Costs are negligible when it comes to distribution. A blog is efficient, easy.
But my paper zine involves paper, ink, envelopes, stamps -- it costs. Plus time, printing and collating copies, addressing and stamping envelopes, etc. In no way is meatspace zine publishing as efficient and easy as blogging.
No more free zine. No longer will I upload each edition as a PDF so that anyone can print it out. Starting with the next issue, if someone wants a copy, they can send me $2.00 cash (US bills, no coin). As before The Ray X X-Rayer will essentially be a collection of my blog posts, some articles revised and updated, sometimes with a little new material slanted towards the papernet audience, all in a basic 8 1/2 by 11 corner-stapled format.
If someone misses the PDF editions, you're still free to collect and print out my blog posts for your own personal non-commercial use.
I deserve some compensation for all the work I do for both the blog and the zine. This isn't a get rich scheme (there's a laugh) but just a way of defraying some of my eXpenses.
And if this doesn't work -- hey, no more zine.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Radio Clip: Jewish Nazis
OK, no progress on my zine. I've been working on other projeX. I've been digitizing audio recordings on tape. And the tapes I'm digitizing are VHS.
Yes, I made audio recordings on VHS tape. Why? Well, back in the old days, you could record with a cassette tape but the best you could do was 45 minutes per side. Yes, there were 120 minute blank tapes, one hour each side, but they had a tendency to break or jam.
So when I wanted to record an hour-long program or longer on radio, I would hook up the audio jack on the VCR to the radio and left the video going. If I eliminated the visual part the recording would screw up, the VCR would go crazy. Actually the video part is helpful, making it easier to locate audio sections I want to digitize, especially with fast-forward/rewind searching.
I wanted to share a couple of audio clips here at my blog and so I'm been trying to use the editing program Audacity. It works OK -- when this damn computer works right. Sometimes Audacity won't allow me to click certain options or I have to restart the computer when the program freezes up.
I won't bore you with all the details but I want to point out that all of this takes time, locating the particular recording I want to digitize, connecting a VCR up to my computer with a special USB hook-up, converting the video to audio only, and then editing down the audio to a clip for sharing.
To add to the time suck, Blogger won't let me upload audio files so I have to throw up a visual title card to create a fake video that it will allow (in case you're wondering why the same image is burning itself into your screen).
This clip dates from way back to 1994 when I was promoting my new zine. Back then the big thing was domestic US shortwave radio, programs like Bill Cooper's The Hour of the Time and Texe Mars' World of Prophecy. Some broadcasts were live and callers were welcome to join in. Most of the superpatriot programs were on WWCR in Nashville, Tennessee, a station still known for its ultra-right-wing Christian line-up. (Some joke that WWCR is short for World Wide Conspiracy Radio).
One program I used to tune in was the Kurt Saxon Radio Show. I didn't agree with everything Kurt said; sometimes there seemed to be a subtle tinge of racism in his comments. But he was a character who belonged to all sorts of groups from the American Nazi Party to Scientology. He could tell a good story. Kurt's schtick was into being prepared for the approaching collapse of civilization -- within in two or three years. (Funny how that turned out, even with Y2K.)
In this clip -- according to my records is dated 7/17/94 -- I'm talking on the phone with Kurt about Jewish Nazis and his days as a member of the Nazi Party.
The audio quality is fair at best. It's SW radio, after all. At times reception conditions on shortwave are challenging, if not impossible.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
I might be trying something different with my blog and blogzine this time around -- depending upon your reaction.
To eliminate duplication of effort, I will write my zine first instead of collecting a few posts from this blog. When the issue is finished, I will put a link here so that you can read it as a PDF file at my Web site.
That means no posts on this blog for a while but at the same time you can read the zine in one sitting, even print it out if you want.
Comments about this will be appreciated.