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100 Articles! Wooo!

100 articles! Who would have thought, lo these many years ago, that I would eventually write 100 articles? Actually, I’ve written something like 103, but a few of them, in retrospect, weren’t all that great, so I didn’t post them when I got my own domain. Well, anyway, here we are.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what to write for the hundredth article. And let’s face it: in the last 15 months, that’s more or less all I’ve done here. Think. First, I spent a year in Morocco, and during that time I really only wrote a handful of articles, though they were generally longer and of higher quality. Upon my return, I was instantly hurled back into my research as well as being a teaching assistant to a class with 300 people, in addition to writing a textbook on Moroccan Arabic grammar usage. The point is, I’ve been busy. In fact, this article has taken something like four weeks to finish.

So busy that, to my embarrassment, I’ve done a lousy job in keeping up with emails from you, the readers. So I thought to myself: self, what if my hundredth article was a celebration of the readers, and all the emails that they send me? And will anyone notice if I start two sentences in a row with the word ‘so?’
Well, here we go.

First we have an email from a strange and exotic corner of the world, the distant Netherlands, from a fine gentleman named Rijk Black. Though, he signed his email ‘Sam’ so maybe Rijk means something in… er… Netherlandsish, the way that for my first email account a million years ago the display name was set to be King Chaos. Anyway, this suspicious traveler from afar says:

“Hello Aaron.
I just wanted to say thank you for that great Article... Its always hard to find a good skeptic but I think you definitely did your Part on this Insane Conspiracy theory... There are some insane people out there who so Desperately need to believe in all of this. Never the less I have to admit that i always love a Good Conspiracy Theory... especially when they're extra crazy. Forgive me for any bad English its not my first language. Anyway Thanks again for your article. Greetings from The Netherlands.
- Sam “

As someone who holds a bright-pink Moroccan residency permit, I can fully sympathize with the difficulties of speaking a second language. My French is not, as they say over there, tres bien. Sam’s English, on the other hand, is mucho bueno. But this also fully illustrates one of the miracles of our modern computer age: someone in The Netherlands is able to access something I wrote while I was sitting on the john. (Sam doesn’t mention the specific article he so enjoyed, but, if you’re a gambling person, the smart money is that I wrote it while I was either sitting on the toilet or drunk.) Even twenty years ago something written by me falling into the hands of a citizen of The Netherlands, especially on so ridiculous a topic as the paranormal, would have been impossible. Go Team Internet! Wooooo!

On a similar international theme, allow me to introduce my good friend Pablo. I am lucky I didn’t delete his message as junk mail, since his display name is set to “Heteroisis Heterotica.” Fortunately (or unfortunately, perhaps?) his message was not highly-educated porn mail, but rather:

“Howdy! Mi name is Pablo, and I'm from Argentina. I love your articles, they're a lot of fun to read, but some stories scary as shit as well, so I try to read 'em before bed to get the maximum experience of it, although I consider myself a skeptic too... I can't help crapping the fuck of my pants. Anyway, my question is regarding one of the pictures you used to illustrate an article ("Will Revis: ET, God, and Monsters") … Where did you get it? Is it from a movie, TV series or what? I found it haunting and funny. Please, tell me!
Eternally thankful, Pablo.”

I had a vague idea where The Netherlands were, mostly from research I was doing on a plan to increase available farmland in Europe by damming the North Sea. (It wouldn’t work.) Argentina, however, might be on the moon as far as I knew. Like all Americans, I was shocked to learn that there’s a continent underneath Mexico, and that’s where Argentina can be found. Regardless, Pablo’s email is another good example of the globe-trotting abilities of my special brand of gutter-tongued anti-boogieman logic. Also, I find the phrase “crapping the fuck of my pants” to be solid gold, and will try and use it in every article from this point onwards. Also, talk about overall command of a second language: I don’t know how to say “howdy” in any of the two extra languages I know.

In answer to your question, Senor Pablo, I got the image from The Googles. I think it’s from an old version of The Creature from the Black Lagoon or something, one of the very first monster movies. I think. It’s been a while.

Not all of the emails were so positive. But they weren’t outright negative (yet.) For instance, here is this gem from Bernadette Dace:

“The Andreasson Affair was weirder than your wildest imagination. Here is an arithmetical progression that calculates key days and the 4 deaths, as century day numbers: Y = 40/39000
29(1 - 2Y) / Y = 28217 <-- 1st of 14 sessions,
29(1 + 1Y) / Y = 28304 <-- 1st Death,
29(1 + 2Y) / Y = 28333 <-- 14th, final session,
29(1 + 3Y) / Y = 28362 <-- 2nd Death,
29(1 + 5Y) / Y = 28420 <-- Finale Deaths.
This is only the mild weirdness, it gets much weirder. The source of this information is a web site that will only be analyzed/studied by technically educated people:

Sure, she implies that my wildest imagination is incapable of understanding the confused gobbledymess that is the Andreasson affair (for further reading, may I recommend to you my article on the Andreasson affair?), but I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on it. To summarize: sometimes crazy people say crazy things. It’s certainly not the outright slander that I usually get.

The math is sort of confusing, though. I went to the site. After about a half hour of reading, my only conclusion is that somewhere, someone’s numeric keypad is getting a hell of a workout. Seriously. That’s all I can say about it. Either I am not “technically educated” enough (and since a year from now I’ll be done my PhD in Materials Engineering, I rather suspect that’s not the case) or it’s gibberish. Anyway, this is just to illustrate to you, my dear reader, that my email inbox contains something other than praise from distant lands. It also contains some crazy. I hate to just write it off without a thorough look, though. Perhaps you’ll be seeing this ParaAstronomy pop up here in the future. If nothing else, it’s a really nicely done site.

And that’s when we start getting into the people that disagree with me. But at least the first, a certain Mr. Ryan Preece, does it the right way:

“hey there.
Now i dont know how old your site is, or if you even get theese emails anymore but ill give it a shot anyway. I stumbled upon your site when doing research on the Philadalphia Project. i have been researching this topic for quite some time now. i read your article on the Montauk Project and have to say i agree and disagree on points. i think maybe your slightly misinformed about the project itself. the Montauk project came after the Philidalphia project. it was the continuing study of "time travel" and teleportation. but for some reason speculation headed towards mind controll lol. the whole thing is about as unsorted as area 51 and what goes on there. there is no concrete evidence about anything accept the myth that just seems to keep running. anyway i just wanted to say your site is awesome, i truely love your style of writting, a nice mix of personal and professional. and if you have time and want to look into this topic a little more, you should look up Al Bielek... very odd and interesting person. you can write me back if you want, im always interested in talking about opinions with other people, they never fall on deaf ears with me lol.
ryan preece
PS. watch out for those UFO entheusists, thare need to convince you that they exist will drive them to get very personal lol.”

Now, when I say ‘the right way’ I’m not referring, mind you, to the grammatically right way. But all of you people wearing giant, foam “I WANT TO BELIEVE” hats, close your compose mail pane and re-read Mr. Preece’s message. He disagrees with me, but does so without once speculating as to the size and quality of my reproductive organs! As far as I can tell, he doesn’t say anything bad about my female relatives, nor does he speculate that they may be willing to engage in sexual acts in exchange for currency. In fact, although he believes me to be misinformed about the Montauk Project, he admits that when I use profanity for comedic purposes, it sometimes works out okay.

My short response to Mr. Preece is that our government has a horrendous record with coverups. In fact, I’d go so far to say that this is the overriding problem with most anti-government conspiracy theories: our government simply doesn’t have the ability to run anything larger than a Denny’s before people start flapping their gums and everyone in the world knows about it. My longer response to Mr. Preece is Well Done, Sir! This is the manner in which I would like to communicate with the paranormal community.

My good man Patrick Hennessey disagrees however. After I wrote my article about “Isaac” and the “CARET drones,” he sent me a very long message. For the record, I wrote “Isaac” and “CARET drones” without quotes the first time, and it made my skin crawl. Anyway, his message was very, very long. I considered writing a point-by-point reply to it, but at the end of the day, if I’m going to engage in a pissing contest, it better be videotaped and sold in Germany. The last paragraph of the letter was my favorite, and really catches the overall flavor of most of the emails I get from people that disagree with me:

“You are not a skeptic. You're a ranting old buffoon with baseless opinions and no real reasons behind your arguments. I could photograph a ufo at close range and you'd tell me the photo was "too clear" and that "aliens wouldn't have built it that way". Pathetic.”

The old buffoon part strikes me as a bit odd – I’m only 28. I was 27 when I wrote the Isaac article. On the other hand, I was born extremely bitter, and I don’t particularly care for the way the young people dress these days, nor do I like their rock-and-roll devil music, so maybe he’s right about the old part. The rest of it is referring to arguments I made in the Isaac article, demonstrating that “photographs” were actually digitally altered. It’s as though this particular young man is capable of reading, just not really very good at understanding. Maybe he’s right, though, and I’m pathetic. Oh well. At least I still have an enormous wang.

Jerry Glover sent me another long email – it’s more of a report about spontaneous human combustion. I mean he’s got names, dates, the whole shebang. Well done, sir! That having been said, as there’s not much in the way of comedic material, I leave it here for you to peruse at your leisure. He also does an admirable job of disagreeing with me, without all the name calling.

There’s also been a couple of emails suggesting subjects for me to research. John Titor, suspected time traveler from beyond the moon; the Battle of Los Angeles; and the “Bigfoot” incident in Rome, Ohio, were all mentioned. The best I can say to you folks is that, at some point, I will do my best to get to them. This term I don’t have to TA, so things are looking up.

And no article would be complete without a spot of dessert: David Mabus. Once every six months or so, he sends an email to a list including some of the leaders of the free world, well known authors in the skeptic and atheist community, book distributors, and yours truly. Also, the FBI and White House. They’re always the same: a stew of insults, CAPITAL LETTERS FOR NO REASON, links to apparently unrelated websites, and bad spelling. For instance, he’s claimed that “these ugly geeks should stick to biology” without actually naming who he’s talking about. Me? Randi? Ghandi? Who knows. The email also contained links to images of children in cages, and at least one lolcat.

About a year ago I proposed to him a challenge: I would write an article about him, describing all of his ideas and philosophies in as kind a light as he wished, if he would send me one, single, complete sentence with proper grammar and punctuation.

He got so close! I can’t find the saved email, but as I remember, he was short by one capital letter and a period. So close! I’d all but forgotten about him, but what did I feel in my inbox yesterday? Yes! Another gem from this lunatic! It starts out by asking if I’ve ever heard of the first amendment, or if I will silence him like others. Actually, I have heard of the first amendment. It guarantees a crazy like Mabus the opportunity to talk. It says nothing about requiring me to listen to his insane ramblings.

Anyway, once, a long time ago, I’d tried to find some information about Mabus. I found a single blog entry by someone else who’d be on the receiving end of these emails. He didn’t try and explain Mabus, though, and I’m inclined to agree with his final analysis:

Fuck David Mabus.

Be seeing you.