Monday, February 25, 2013

19 & Counting

Back in February 1994 I didn't bother to note the publication date of the first issue of my zine, Ray X X-Rayer. I just say it debuted on Groundhog Day.

I started my zine as something to do during another long insufferable winter. I was learning how to use the latest computers with mouses and windows through practical means: wordprocessing and layout. It was a way to keep my mind active instead of letting it be damaged by hibernation rot.

I struggled with a program called PageMaker to format each issue. It was tricky learning how to format columns with "windowshades." Those windowshades had to be pulled up and down just right with the mouse. Now I just get along with Microsoft Word, a simpler way of doing the same thing (No shades, daddy-o). While the computer part has become easier, the writing half is still sometimes a struggle.

If you told me back in 1994 I would still be producing the same zine, I would've been surprised. And if you told me I would still be stuck in Plattsburgh (Ugh!), NY – well, the less said about that the better. (Did you ever see the movie Groundhog Day?)

Should be interesting to see if I make it to Ray X X-Rayer #100.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Update: A New Year With Snakes

As mentioned in the previous post there was someone in the neighborhood with severe mental problems that was causing me some concern. Apparently that person has moved out; I haven't even seen the individual around town.

Maybe the so-called safety net is helping. But I doubt it...

At least with that person gone I can concentrate more energy on slogging thru another long winter. Maybe spring weather will come early this year – like May 1st.

Why I X-Ray The Liberty Net

In a recent email Robert Jennings, editor of Fadeaway zine (29 Whiting Road, Oxford, MA 01540-2025) wrote regarding my zine:

"I am still wondering why you bother to monitor the loons on the ‘Liberty Net’. These people are clearly drop-the-net whackos. I always wonder how people like that rationalize their beliefs, the ones they scream out so clearly and hysterically, when the government doesn’t turn into a communist dictatorship, they do not get rounded up and put into concentration camps, and the world continues spinning merrily along totally ignoring their rants and beliefs? It must be daunting, at least, to realize how completely wrong and also how completely inconsequential they actually are in the passing parade of the real world. Or maybe not. Delusional people always seem to have an excuse to explain why things don’t happen the way they believe they will. They also seem to be able to come up with even more stupid reasons to keep on believing the things they do."

Robert had also commented on my coverage of the Liberty Net in a previous email. He raises a good point: Why give them so much attention?

When I started my zine, Ray X X-Rayer, one of the freethink/fringe topiX I wanted to cover was conspiracy theories. From time to time I listen in to the live Liberty Net ( late Saturday night / early Sunday morning gatherings (or later through archived recordings) so I can learn about latest hot topics and theories circulating in the superpatriot movement. Also, the delusional thinking, as Robert refers to it, shows me how Lib Netters justify their outlier beliefs.

People should be aware of the superpatriot movement, at least knowing the difference between ultra-right-wing and conservative beliefs. Some superpatriots think conservative radio bloviator Rush Limbaugh is too "liberal," that he's just a shill for the Mega-Conspiracy. They prefer to get their truth from someone like the late William Cooper who thought the world was being controlled by the Illuminati. Before he committed suicide-by-cop Cooper had many intense fans following his shortwave radio program, "Hour of the Time." Among them was Timothy McVeigh.

From what I hear on the Lib Net it's doubtful that any of those ham radio operators would go to such an extreme. Their weekly gatherings provide an outlet to blow off tremendous steam. But at the same I wouldn't be completely surprised if someone linked to it took drastic action. You never know.

And there's also the entertainment angle with the Liberty Net. One time there was discussion about an incident from years ago, the controversy over someone nominated to be the US diplomat to Luxembourg. The man happened to be gay. Why was this a problem? A Lib Netter stated that such an appointment would make America look bad. The diplomatic nominee would bring AIDS to Luxembourg.

Comedy writers can only strive to write such lines.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Skepchick's Incongruous Ads

To get the big picture you have to include the ads.

When Rebecca Watson introduced the new look for the Website, a commenter observed that there was an empty column on the page which looked weird. Explaining what was causing the problem, Watson wrote: "Using Adblock on Skepchick makes the baby jesus cry."

So what kind of ads is Skepchick running? If you deactivate Adblock you'll be treated to such stuff like "Date 12000 Asian Women Online" and "" Both ads feature attractive young women posing for the guys, not really cheesecake shots but... (Click on image to enlarge.)

These ads popped up on a post by Watson about her being treated as a sex object, how someone sent a link to a very crude cartoon depiction of her. I don't condone the cartoon; I think it's gross and stupid. But I do find the ads that accompany her post to be incongruous, to say the least, when Watson complains about how are women are being treated by sexist men. After all, don't these ads objectify women?

A commenter to the post also pointed this out. In response another commenter said that these ads are based on someone's browsing history. Well, even if that is the case, skepchick should ban some of the ads, as one commenter mentions, or if that can't be done, just drop the ad service completely.

Skepchicks don't need the ad money that bad, do they, to set aside their principles?

After all, as one commenter stated: "I thought the Super Bowl commercials were particularly sexist and objectifying this year."

Baby Jesus must be crying.