Exercise: Find anyone who's been on Usenet for a couple of years or more, and get them to read out the list of newsgroups. They'll react differently to some - hurrying past places they've been flamed, pausing briefly at the group they want to call home. When they get to talk.bizarre, though, their manner will change. They'll look sideways slightly, step out of sight of windows, glow fluorescent: whatever, it's an effect that you won't find on any of the others.
talk.bizarre has always been "over there"; It's denizens (moxie, richh, carasso, gooley...) may find themselves famous elsewhere, through sig quotes, crossposts, or whole dedicated newsgroups, but it's always talk.bizarre that they call home. Why?
It could be
because calling it your home, without being immediately told
to shut the fuck up, is an achievement in itself; t.b likes
its Cabal, and the general hanging-out, feuds, and
planning parties takes up about 30 percent of it's volume.
It could also be because about 10 percent of the remainder is pure beauty. The t.b dreammeisters like kaitem, Bill Bill, Narciso Jaramillo and the Elder Dan have brightened up many of my days, just by spinning my head until it hurts real good.
So why doesn't everybody in the universe read talk.bizarre? Because of the remaining 63%. Blithering newbies, crossposts, cascaders, career idiots and people who think that swearing is bizarre proliferate; sometimes it seems like the heavens opened, and these cavenewts came pouring forth. Fighting this tendency towards the realm of noise are the team of bulldogs, dispensing anvils to luzers throughout, and carting the inert forms off to Roadkills 'R' Us if they're dead, and X Industries if they're unlucky enough to be stunned. Most of the t.b regulars can bulldog if the occasion arrives, but leading the pack by a considerable distance is John F. Woods. If jfw tells you to shut up in t.b, not shutting up will cut you very little slack from anyone.
So what can you do in order to avoid the ever-ready killfiles of t.b? First off, spend some time lurking in the group, (a month minimum) to see what it is. It usually isn't what you'd want it to be, and it won't change before you do.
If you spend too much time there, of course, you may find yourself mired in shit, unwilling to believe there's any merit in the group. As an antidote, and a method of feedback, t.b has a voting system, run by Paul Vader. Some readers vote on articles, and, come first of every month, the results are posted. The latest are here. Some previous months' will be available just off this page soon. Read them, rejoice in their splendour, and consider whether you can write stuff as mind-bending as this. If you can't, be a lurker, for Klortho's sake: t.b has too many revolutionaries trying to change the system from within as it is. If you can synthesise something as strange, try. The feedback will tell you if you've fooled anyone. When the offers of sex start coming in, you've really arrived.
Well, that seems to be all. The official talk.bizarre home page is here. And a look at the group is here. Walk quiet out there. And, as you value your clavicles, don't tell them I sent you.
 There is no Cabal.Andrew