Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where From Art Thou?


It's always a good idea to include a caveat about the identity and source of UFOs, UAOs, USOs or whatever one's personal designation.


When we use terms such as aliens, entities, occupants, extraterrestrial, outer space or any words alluding to the source of the mystery, it can cheapen us. Yet, all we have is words, so we really must use them carefully. It isn't easy. We possess boatloads of conjecture, but pathetically little knowledge of what constitutes the UFO and everything associated with its apparently multifaceted identity or identities.


When we ascribe our own opinions about UFOs to a hypothesis in search of substantiation, but claim we "know" the truth, the skeptics cringe and the debunkers howl in ecstasy. Yet, again, we're limited by the words available to us, and when it comes down to describing or attempting to delineate the remarkable aspects of the UFO phenomenon we often find ourselves obligated to the semantics available to us -- a paltry choice, actually. Honestly, I'm no less guilty myself when attempting to put words to or a face on the UFO.


As we count down to the end of 2008 and a world in economic shambles -- or just plain old shambles -- we all hope for a more secure and definable 2009. Well, don't count on that. But we in the USA will have a new government in power, so that's something -- as long as some of its members don't exemplify the soon-to-be ex-governor of Illinois and his cronies, and others who have absolutely no connection to the folks they supposedly represent.


Readers, I thank you for your support and e-mails over the past couple of years. I confess that pretty much all of the good stuff from my remaining files has been scanned and posted, so I hope you've read the earliest blog entries and worked forward. At this point, I only blog when I feel I've something to say. Why waste the readers' time with endless blah, blah, blah intended merely to inflate my own ego if my mind is a blank?


However, even when I'm not posting, you have at your fingertips some great links for access to the best information about UFOs. Considering all the nonsense out there, I'm gratified to have the opportunity to direct you to UFO evidence, not clown shows.


I really should update my blog (see link) on the 1956 movie, "U.F.O." That might be a project for spring. My Air Force blog (see link) is essentially completed and will remain online. That leaves the blog (see link) intended as a tribute to my deceased Pekingese, and I may take that down in 2009 -- though I was amazed at the interest shown by animal lovers who somehow discovered the page. In a world filled with hostility, cruelty and more humans than should ever have been born, it's always a comfort to find people who understand that we share this planet with other life. Good luck with that, by the way.


A new Congress is coming to Washington. Please take the opportunity to write your senators and House representatives to insist that Congress take a renewed look at the UFO mystery and consider a new scientific study. With the economy in chaos, I admit that the chances aren't high, but my feeling is that we have an opportunity to propel scientific knowledge beyond current thresholds, and if we ever needed to make that leap, the time is now. We also must insist that the U.S. government release all files and visuals concerning the subject.


If you celebrate Christmas, have a merry Christmas. If you're into the New Year's party thing, go bonkers. Make the most of your special moments, because next year at this time . . . who knows?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Extraordinary Witness


Second thoughts. We all have them. First impressions can be invaluable, but those gnawing doubts after the fact, well. . .


As recently as last week, I suggested that learning more about UFOs might conceivably provide us with a monumental insight into numerous areas of science. Truly, I do believe that. However, despite myself I could be wrong. Seriously wrong, deadly in error. What if? What if the new Congress did hold more hearings about the UFO issue? What if the old Congress had conducted multiple hearings in secrecy about the enigma?


And what if a careful examination of the facts forced leaders on the Hill to realize that, yes, the UFO phenomenon is real, there's intelligence involved and. . .and. . .no matter how frightening the implications, there's not a darned thing this or any other country can do about it? Would Congress or the military ever admit that "somebody" enters and leaves our existence at will, doing whatever it or they want? As we've painfully learned in recent weeks, we're often in no position to know what's on the minds in Congress, but I think anybody even casually familiar with UFO history realizes that, uh huh, UFOs actually do seem to come and go with prejudice.

Perhaps Congress could get away with publicly interviewing a few people who claim close encounters or even car trouble in the presence of strange lights swooping out of the sky. Congressional committee members could routinely say thank you for your testimony and have a nice day and we'll look into this, blah, blah, blah.


Yet -- there's another potential for Congress to deal with, something to make them sit up and listen and to be concerned about and maybe a little more than afraid: The extraordinary witness. The extraordinary witnesses.

First off, I don't know her, but shouldn't a Pulitzer be awarded to Natalie Chambers? After all, it was she who wrote an article for the Associated Press back in October of 2001 about one new witness -- and apparently more -- who quite possibly watched the descent and landing of the actual UFO involved in the alleged abduction and examination of fishermen Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker on the shores of the Pascagoula River in 1973. Frankly, I've encountered my share of news reporters over the years whose editors won't -- yes, won't -- let them mention UFOs for a variety of reasons (generally because of ignorance, not conspiracies), so this time around I was stunned.

Chambers' report is not new to this writer, for I've mentioned it on previous occasions. But I find this an opportune time for rehash because, yes, a new Congress will soon take its place in Washington, and, by George, Chambers' article might be just the place to start as we strive for a new UFO investigation. Make no mistake: At some level(s) the U.S. government couldn't possibly NOT be concerned about ufological intrusions into our lives -- and, that said, now we need to get Congress into the arena in order to get the public and scientific community involved. This is monumental stuff, and we want the truth.

When I joined the membership of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP-- see link) in 1964, the organization remained hot on the trail of every reliable UFO report it encountered, perfectly content that UFOs were probably vehicles from outer space under intelligent control in our atmosphere. However, in those early years there was absolutely no room for credible thought in those instances when witnesses reported somebody inside the things making an exit. UFOs, yes, maybe remotely controlled. But alien entities? Well, let's see the evidence for that...NICAP never denied the possibility, but the proof was essential.

That all changed, however, once the Barney and Betty Hill story went credibly public and Marjorie Fish unveiled the "Hill star map," showing, apparently with an uncomfortable degree of precision, where the Hill UFO occupants may have originated from-- based upon a star map Betty Hill recalled seeing, while under hypnosis later on. At last, the time had come when NICAP was forced to reconsider the occupant reports, and years later when an alarming artist's depiction of the 1961 Hill UFO "aliens" received top billing in the pages of NICAP's journal, The UFO Investigator, jaws dropped and history was made.

When impressive UFO activity began appearing in waves during the mid-sixties and into the early seventies, UFO occupant reports joined the mix. The integrity of some reports could easily be dismissed, but nobody was prepared for the Pascagoula, Mississippi incident of October 11, 1973.
Barney and Betty Hill's 1961 UFO experience didn't surface publicly for years because of a "missing time" aspect which only materialized after extensive hypnotic recall administered by psychiatrist Dr. Benjamin Simon. However, within hours after Hickson and Parker's alleged abduction the two were brought to the local sheriff's office, where, gripped by fear and apprehension, they told their story of a strange object that appeared while they were fishing. Bizarre, almost robot-like entities proceeded to take the men inside, where they were reportedly physically examined before being released.

You can read all about the Pascagoula (otherwise known as the Hickson-Parker) incident at NICAP.org, via the on-site search engine, so there's no need for me to recount the whole affair when others have done so in far more detail. For me, the Pascagoula case was just one more incredible event possibly related to the UFO phenomenon, but years later something happened that impressed me even more -- and it was all due to Natalie Chambers' article. It could have been 50 words or 150,000 words, as far as I'm concerned, but if the information is true, it's one of the most important newspaper articles ever written.

Charles Hickson, Calvin Parker, the UFO and its strange occupants were not alone on that October, 1973 evening, Chambers wrote 28 years later. There were witnesses, and not only the witnesses we're already familiar with who claimed to have seen lights in the sky that night. Add to the credibility mix a U.S. Navy chief petty officer, long retired by 2001, and two of his crew mates. Mike Cataldo of Florida not only told his story to Chambers, but openly offered the names of his crew mates, both of whom he had lost track of by then: Ted Peralta and Mack Hanna.

While on active duty, Cataldo and his friends were driving on U.S. 90, on their way to Ocean Springs. Peralta was driving, Hanna sat in front and Cataldo sat in back. Quoting from Chamber's AP article:

"We saw a very strange object in the horizon going from northwest across Highway 90. It was going pretty fast. It went down into a wood area and into the marsh. It hovered over the treeline, I guess, maybe a minute. We actually pulled off the road and watched it. We said, 'My God, what is that,' Cataldo said."

According to Cataldo, the thing looked like a large tambourine with lights flashing on it, the size of an airliner. They soon had a second sighting before reaching their destination.
The next day, Cataldo made an official report to the executive officer on his submarine and also notified Keesler Air Force Base. Keesler never called back and Cataldo's executive officer and other crew members "thought we were just lunatics, just whacked out."

Hickson and Parker were deeply affected by their experience and, as Charles Hickson told Chambers about his younger fishing companion, "He's not the same man as before. It just ruined him."

Cataldo states he tried years later to locate his two former shipmates, but was unsuccessful.


Well, I know who can find them: Congress. Faced with the enormous implications of the Pascagoula incident -- that our airspace and ground space have been invaded at will by a source unknown, a source that abducted and had its way with two U.S. citizens -- Congress has every reason to act, to demand the truth. Congress must do now what it failed to do previously: Call Cataldo in for his expert testimony as a former Naval officer, and locate Hanna and Peralta for theirs, each of the three apparently a man of integrity during his affiliation with the U.S. Navy -- each, every one, an extraordinary witness.

The fly in the ointment is Congress itself. What can ultimately be said if you bring these men in and they collectively tell a story pointing to our hopelessness in handling the UFO issue? Congress would be far more at ease bringing in witnesses who attest to "The Miracle at Fatima" because they could ascribe that to a religious experience and leave that subject hanging in the air for interpretation by a variety of sources. But the Pascagoula case? It wasn't a miracle and there were no religious overtones. Clearly, it was horrible, spectacular and potentially well-witnessed from the adjoining highway.

And let's not forget the audio tape. When Hickson and Parker were questioned at the sheriff's office just hours after their encounter, a hidden tape recorder caught the men's conversation while the sheriff left them alone for a few minutes. The recording, since released publicly, wasn't in very good shape, but thanks to the technological efforts of researcher Wendy Connors who achieved remarkable clarity over the original audio, the two frightened men are heard to be clearly upset, with Parker almost in a panic. Sheriff Glenn Ryder, who questioned the men that night, even admitted (again quoting from Chambers' article), "Calvin Parker was just hysterical. He was having fits. I took them in a patrol car to the sheriff's office."

Reasons why the UFO issue craves sobriety and congressional exploration are reflected adequately enough by the Pascagoula incident, in my opinion. Can we learn a great deal by unleashing our best scientists on the UFO mystery? I continue to believe so.


In any case, to keep the implications of this profound enigma from the public or to ignore its very existence, as Congress as a whole seems more than willing to do, is just wrong, dangerously wrong. This government must take UFO incidents seriously, and Congress, publicly, must respect and listen intently to the extraordinary witness. There are so many of them out there.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Folder


Please excuse my blatant lack of inspiration for a blog entry title today. When I accessed a folder for today's writing, up popped the familiar yellow icon labeled New Folder, and I said to myself, well, why not use that? After all, with a new President taking the U.S. reins in January, all manner of things will reset, only to become reborn in new folders driven by political pressure.


There isn't much of a rant here today. You're probably more worried about the economy, the country, the world or the holidays than UFOs right now. Besides, science recently discovered that our brains actually shrink during the cold months, so I'm pretty sure mine's about half-size this week, thanks to winter's dramatic preview here in the frosty Northeastern United States.

Incidentally, November 9 marked the 43rd anniversary of "The Great Northeastern Power Blackout," a massive electrical anomaly that Congress took very seriously -- even to the point of listening to the late atmospheric physicist Dr. James E. McDonald as he espoused his concerns about a disturbing array of UFO reports accompanying the blackout. If not for the absence of Klaatu, Gort, Michael Rennie or Keanu Reeves, one might easily have thought the movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" came true. The sixties hosted enough UFO-related power interruptions, nonetheless. Of course, publicly, the 1965 incident has been explained to the satisfaction of many -- easy enough to do when you ignore the rest of the evidence or find ways to tame the strangeness factor into something recognizable. At any rate, McDonald's comments before Congress are easily located on the Internet via your favorite search engine and the right key words.


Speaking of Congress, there is one more assertion I'll throw in today. As a group, they recently and most aptly demonstrated more panic than leadership when the economy went bonkers. Here in New York State, our elected officials in Albany haven't fared much better, as each political party and the usual organized suspects attempt to demonize one another amidst a financial crisis poised to drive even more people out of this overtaxed state -- all while officials endlessly and voraciously fight for political turf like dung beetles on the hunt.


But back to Congress. Think back on those oh-so-few occasions when the UFO issue attained a modicum of exploration there, only to be either quickly forgotten or -- in the worst of all worlds -- awarded a hatchet job by Dr. Edward U. Condon and the boys over at the University of Colorado.


Okay, I've been a very small voice and rider on the UFO merry-go-round for more than 40 years --and, remember, my brain is currently half its normal summer size -- but I still contend that, for all the weirdness and currently incomprehensible aspects of the UFO phenomenon, there's something about it that's integral to our own place in the universe, and science needs to get serious about sorting out the truth from the absurd: Learn about the UFO, and we may learn about us. Learn about the UFO, and we may discover new forms of energy lurking far beyond mortal imagination. Learn about the UFO, and we might find out where we're headed as a species.


If all of that seems unreasonable or impossible, we need only point in the direction of Congress, where feats of the pathetic and incredible appear to be taking center stage almost daily as the economic nosedive continues. These, after all, are the watchdogs responsible for oversight, and if they couldn't even deal with the blazing financial calamity streaking menacingly across their field of vision, can we expect congressional interest in the UFO subject's importance? Then again (sigh. . .), we can always hope that January brings a vastly different Congress to town, much as we hope that Santa's undies don't get snagged on a jagged fragment as he descends the chimney on that special December's night.


(Next time: Let us stretch the realm of possibility and assume an occasion in the near future when Congress takes another look at the UFO mystery. Obviously, there exist some very interesting airline cases and other quality incidents deserving scrutiny. But I have my own idea of whom Congress should call for questioning, and it involves a case I've mentioned several times in this blog. The circumstances haunt me and I can't ignore the implications. More later.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

We the (Pod) People: Welcome Back Paranoia


Yahooooooooo! Paranoia is BACK!

I started to read a news story about the increase in international paranoia and immediately thought, well, it's been a donkey's age since I've heard that word thrust about, and on such a wide scale, too. In a world filled with things we can't believe in, not to mention rampant electronic surveillance of and by all of our neighbors, a renewed emphasis on paranoia is just what the doctor ordered -- literally! Hey, if more people are paranoid, that makes it normal and respectable by consensus.

Maybe the next time I put in a call to the U.S. Department of Crumbling Infrastructure to report a mummy attempting to dig its way up through the concrete on my basement floor, they won't hang up with rude comments. I told them and I told them, how many times, the very moment that thing sticks its head just one inch higher I'm going to swing the business end of my shovel at it until the cellar looks like a bandage factory. Yeah, maybe next time they'll listen to me. Call me a paranoid, will they, ha! We'll see who's paranoid.

Mainstream paranoia would be so wonderful right now. I've been scratching my head for two years, wondering what to do with a little essay sort of thingie I wrote and couldn't place -- I mean, not everybody likes to read stuff written by people like me, you know? Just as some people think that actors are the same as the roles they play on screen, others believe that those who write are the personification of what they write. True, I really do have a mummy problem in the basement, but I'm no down-home paranoid, just a writer. Actually, the best essay writing sometimes leaves the reader questioning how much involves thought -- and how much involves theatrics. And mummies.

Well, so, in 2006 I wrote this little essay entitled, "We the (Pod) People." Um, it wasn't hopeful about the future. Care to read it? No UFOs here. . .but lots and lots and lots of fabulous paranoia. Mummies? Probably not. Maybe.

WE THE (POD) PEOPLE
by Robert Barrow

iPods didn't exist 50 years ago, but pods nevertheless lurked in our minds when the 1956 science fiction movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, introduced us to demon pods from outer space. Intended primarily as a statement about our hysterical fear of a stealth-like communist takeover in America, potentially converting children and adults to a life where everybody blindly thinks and acts alike, the surface storyline depicted people whose very souls and likenesses would be copied by nearby space pods as soon as they fell asleep, sacrificing their very lives.

I was thinking about those pods a few weeks ago when I read about Eric Pianka, the University of Texas biology/ecology professor who warned about a near-obliteration of some 90 percent of all humanity by a future disease epidemic. One suspects that, if virus colonies had leaders, the President of the United States of Ebola would be out there creating its own reality, whipping the crowds into a frenzy with taunts of "Bring it on!" The good professor, apparently disturbing enough in his public comments to warrant a visit from the FBI because of some misunderstanding that he wanted to destroy all humans on the planet (not true), laments the international loss of animal habitat, and the fact that we humans already claim a good 50 percent of livable land mass.

Of course, Pianka isn't the first to entertain grim thoughts about our numbers as humans. NASA scientists and astronauts occasionally comment on earth's frightful appearance from space, its environment scarred by rainforest destruction, pollution, and now the uncertainties of climate change. Some compare humanity's visual influence upon the planet as akin to mold on an orange, or cancer on a lung.

So I ponder the pods of 2006, for we have become the pod people. We don't need invaders from outer space to replicate something horrible and terrifying. We're doing quite well with our own creative and reproductive talents, thank you.

With world population poised to burst at the seams as immigrants strive, even at the risk of death, to flee various evils in hope of finding a questionable paradise, we must pause to wonder about this finite planet. Our children are the future? Nonsense. Every organism ever born or dead upon this ever-evolving planet might as well have believed the same poppycock. Our likely future is extinction, perhaps sooner, rather than later.

We are the pods. Has our species ascended a summit where every human pod-child born in today's world is, at best, a carnivorous, resource-sucking monster who puts very little of positive substance back into our poisoned ecosystem? Why congratulate parents on childbirth, when the new environmental greeting card may inescapably be destined to read, "Oh, how could you!?"
Forget boring college courses about human behavior. Maybe we need a new TV network, airing primarily the most obnoxious commercials and showing only pornography, slaughterhouse carnage, animal lab experimentation scenes and global deforestation. Let's called it the Pod People Network, with the screen's crawling slogan at the bottom reading, "Who we are and what we do." This televised reminder on PPN that we have more in common with the practices of rats and roaches than with mythological images of human perfection on our self-infected little planet might not hurt. We are the world? No, we are the viruses, we are the bird flu. We are the pods.
Professor Pianka's views exemplify our darkest thoughts, and as science discovers increasingly that a variety of creatures from dolphins to dogs to elephants have high intelligence levels we never suspected, maybe critters that are not us will evolve to master the universe -- if our pod-selves don't absorb and obliterate them all.

Meanwhile, human sperm counts continue to decline ever so slowly across the planet, even as climate change threatens the pods. Amniotic fluid, increasingly a cesspool of toxins as more and more products of human chemical ingenuity stake a claim in the nourishment of fetuses destined to exhibit "birth defects" of pending horror, is no longer a safe haven for the embryo, never mind the fetus. Retreating to the safety of TV programs, movies and sports events may no longer be enough to anesthetize and save us from ourselves. Nor, conceivably, will the sterling educations offered by institutions of higher learning as we, the pods, discover painfully that growing food and seeking shelter is the only masters thesis or doctorate we need to survive for the hopelessly short haul.

The new pods, history would note -- if, indeed, recorded history were to continue -- merely evidenced ourselves, for all our efforts and facades, as the intellectual drivel of the universe, galactic detritus hardly worth a flicker, destroyers of a beautiful piece of celestial real estate and its unique critters: A suicidal species incapable of the realization that war and religion forever walk hand in hand, each a conspiracy to destroy everything in its chosen path, one a pressure-cooking champion of human overpopulation on demand, and the other a population relief valve of least resistance.

One day during the 1960s, my late Aunt Dorothy, a caring woman who always found time to knit warm, comforting winter sweaters for family members, noticed I was upset about something unrealized and advised, "Don't you know that most of the things we worry about never happen?" A few weeks later, my Vietnam Era draft notice arrived.

Many years later -- after military service -- when I visited a new eye doctor for the first time, out of the blue he offered, "You're a worrier, aren't you?" A few weeks later, I consulted a new eye doctor because the former seemed way too creepy and unprofessional, and the new ophthalmologist warned me, "There's bad and good in this field, and he's bad."

Today, my answer to Aunt Dorothy's question would be, oh yes, they do and -- by the way -- the sweaters were incredible.
My proper response for the bad eye doctor would have to be, you betcha doc, I sure am a worrier. I worry about sleeping too near the rest of the pods.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Old Becomes New While The Hidden Remains Hidden


That sure is a freakin' big universe out there, isn't it? Often, I wonder why we're in such a hurry to explore other suns and planets when I'm perfectly secure with the concept that we and other life on earth most likely arrived here from somewhere else. In one form or another, we've already been "there." True enough, if we go for a visit to Uncle Ned's house on a speck of planetary real estate in Alpha Centauri, it's probable that he'll be half centipede and half squid, but he's made of the same stuff we are --but you gotta overlook the cellular arrangements and appearance because, after all, he's our Uncle Ned and he deserves respect. So what if he doesn't give us gifts for Christmas, when they don't even celebrate Christmas in Alpha Centauri? Hmm, unless they do, and then that would open up a whole other discussion. Well. . .


Besides, there's so much to discover right here on our miserable little overpopulated planet -- and it's particularly intriguing when we re-discover something.


Take energy, for instance. Have you noticed the proliferation of infrared heating devices recently? In the USA, the name EdenPURE comes to mind, Heavily advertised on Paul Harvey's radio show and others, the unit even shows up in full-page newspaper ads (I saw one this morning) boasting the benefits of its infrared abilities. I'm sure it lives up to expectations, but one would almost think they invented infrared.


They aren't alone. A few days ago I purchased a very inexpensive little infrared heater bearing the Westpointe name. Manufactured in China (well, that's certainly a surprise), the thing was on sale for $39.98 at a hardware store. The selling point for me was its distinction from competing non-infrared heater units which routinely require, what, 1100, 1500, 2500 expensive watts to function? The Westpointe feeds upon two settings, requiring only 400 or 800 watts. Remarkable! Breakthrough! Incredible! Star Trek is here and now!


Well, not really. Infrared isn't exactly new. The heat of the sun is infrared, and I think that's been standard procedure for a few years, at least. That's what infrared does, it heats.

What's really funny for me, though, is realizing that, if our society had wished to do so, we could have been heating with infrared energy decades ago. After I entered the Air Force and received technical training in physical therapy 40 years ago -- 40 years ago! -- I was treating patients with infrared lamps, and the technology (if that's the right word) was in place long before my entrance. In the clinics I recall using infrared in two forms. One required a Carborundum filament which emitted no visible light, but the heat produced could easily be felt. The other lamp, more common as time went on, needed a 1,000 watt bulb; oh yeah, it was bright, and when I wasn't using it on patients it wasn't uncommon for me to gently warm food and snacks with it (I guess I was ahead of my time, since individual-use microwave ovens hadn't been invented yet).


Yet, the Air Force hospital clinics I worked in didn't depend solely upon infrared energy. Indeed, there was electrical stimulation, electrical testing, ultrasound (we've explored ultrasound and possible UFO connections previously in this blog) and microwave energy (potential UFO relationships with microwaves have been explored by others). There was also something else ripped from the spectrum -- ultraviolet energy.


The older I become, the less I find to truly respect in our paranoid, common senseless, electronics-worshiping society. But I still respect ultraviolet, hoo-boy, do I ever. (Just great, now I'll get e-mails from everybody named Hoo-Boy, complaining of a smear campaign.) Nevertheless, ultraviolet is not necessarily your pal, pal. In the military I used small, portable cold quartz (also called spot quartz) ultraviolet lamps to treat patient bedsores and other lesions, and that was a beneficial use of UV. And then there were the floor lamp-sized units of standard ultraviolet, a device to which patients would be exposed for mere seconds or maybe a couple of minutes to relieve various skin problems. When using these, both the technician and the patient must wear special sunglasses for vision protection against UV rays.


And therein lies our human stupidity. You see, as the years went by, instead of taking the infrared spectrum of visible light by the hand, so to speak, and finding a way to heat our homes and lives somewhat efficiently with wonderful, soothing, health-beneficial infrared light, a myriad of entrepreneurs focused instead upon ultraviolet and decided to create "tanning booths" and "tanning salons." Grrrrrrrr!


The thing about ultraviolet, the product of sunlight that causes "suntans" as well as serious burns, is its ability in a brief period to destroy your skin cells and burn your epidermal layers to a frazzle. Then, there's the cancer risk. At the very least, UV can -- well, just look at folks in Florida who spend their waking moments on the beach; after a few years of sun, their faces tell the tale. What's that you say? Sun blockers? Oh yeah, right, just slap on some sunblock cream and you'll be fine. May I sell you the Brooklyn bridge today, too?


The truth is, I'd sooner appear naked on "Dancing With The Stars" -- no, no, wait -- I'd sooner actually WATCH "Dancing With The Stars" than let anybody drag me off to a tanning booth. When I remember the lengthy list of warnings of which I had to be aware when treating patients with ultraviolet energy, and the potential instantaneous or long-term complications, you'd better be at least a dermatologist, and not some bubblegum-chewing, so-called tanning salon expert before I even think of getting a UV hit that doesn't come from brief exposures to the sun strictly for Vitamin D production.


Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on the tanning industry. While I was stationed at a hospital in Georgia, one day actress Joan Crawford came to town to promote Pepsi-Cola. I think that's because her then-husband was on the board of directors, so she was making a promotional tour. I know that many remember her as "Mommy Dearest," but by that time I don't believe she packed coat hangers in her luggage, not even the wire ones she reportedly despised, just bottles of Pepsi.


Anyway, during her Pepsi tour and in commercials, former queen of the cinema Joan would proudly extol the virtues of drinking a Pepsi with breakfast every morning. I think she said she started every morning off with a glass of Pepsi. The scene might be similar to one from the yet-to-be made movie, "Apocalypse Now," except Queen Joan could easily have stepped from a helicopter, attired in high fashion, and announced, "I love the smell of Pepsi in the morning!"


Now, I like Pepsi myself, and could hardly confabulate a better way to obtain a sugar high if I were Godzilla himself let loose in a sugar cane plantation, but I rather don't believe that Pepsi could ever replace orange juice or cereal for the sort of nutritional values pounded into our heads by medical professionals as they attempt to ruin the fun in our lives themselves with their constantly changing life-and-death advice. Yet, I'm confident old Joan had her admirers, and I have this vision where many thousands of them threw out their toasters, eggs and marmalade, subsequently stocking their refrigerators and cupboards with Pepsi. Hey kids, don't be heading off to school before ya drink a bottle of this. . .


Barrow, you're thinking, what tangent are you off on today? Well, I think it's about choices to some extent. We first chose the dangerous ultraviolet demon over the angel of infrared. The quick dollar and the scam and the quackery always seem to come first. We trust the knowledge and endorsements from Hollywood actors who, strangely, frequently spend their lives engulfed in pure fiction and fantasy and/or drugs and may not have the ability to judge the difference between truth and a coat rack.


So now I'm waiting or not waiting for another choice to be made: The choice for our government to come clean with us about the UFO issue, you know? There's an "energy crisis," and what happens? Infrared pops out of the box as if it never existed before, yet it was there all the time and we knew it. Ultraviolet lay dormant, too, until the appearance of a good tan became more important than the personality or lack thereof behind the tan. Pepsi-Cola was just soda-pop until Ms. Crawford declared it a breakfast drink and turned it into an Andy Warhol-style Soda POP. Then there's the UFO thing.


Yes, the UFO thing. Dormant sometimes, sometimes not. Kind of laying around like a lazy teenager waiting for a party invitation, and then the phone rings and all hell breaks loose -- until the caller mysteriously hangs up without saying a word and the teen resumes the previous position, waiting for another call because he knows there's a party somewhere and the only thing missing is the right call, and the only things there are many, TOO many, of are the hang-ups. Too many hang-ups, too many days filled with them, too many good and bad occasions that lie in wait until exactly the right or wrong time to surface. Who deludes us? Who?


We.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feeding the Linkigator


Sometimes the links are the best part of a blog.


Over the past couple of years I've put up numerous scans and imparted considerable information from my old files. Quite honestly, the bulk of what remained from the past has been posted, and if you're new I urge you to go way back and start reading from the very beginning. Unfortunately, a lot of UFO reports of interest acquired from witnesses, particularly in the sixties and seventies, comprised one copy each, were sent off to UFO organizations such as NICAP and APRO, and I've no duplicates on file. For the most part, I didn't want copies laying around as a matter of integrity and security because witnesses often request anonymity. Nevertheless, blogs being what they are, I do believe you've discovered a smidgeon of important UFO history in these pages, obviously from my point of view.

If you've been checking in now and then, you undoubtedly noticed a gradual lengthening of the link list. Actually, I never wanted to include a lot of entries because I firmly believe an abundance of links is equivalent to overkill of ingredients in a food recipe -- yet, many of these complement my blog tremendously and they simply deserve to be available as valuable references. With such a large portion of my blog consumed by links, that section has become a critter unto itself, a virtual "linkigator." Maybe it's time to step back and explain for newer readers what the current list of 19 is all about. So. . .

Blog de Void reflects the writing of award-winning Florida newspaper journalist Billy Cox. While an uncomfortable number of U.S. news sources predictably take the easy way out, dismissing the UFO issue with humor and ridicule as if following a shortsighted mantra, Cox doggedly and consistently follows the UFO truth trail. We older folk who populate the UFO research circuit -- or is that circus? -- must bow in his direction, for Billy Cox is a rarity in his field, a fact both wonderful and sad at the same time. Don't miss his frequent updates.


The Intruders Foundation: Budd Hopkins was on the trail of UFO abductions and abductees long before it was fashionable in some research quarters. His books and articles based upon his work with alleged abduction victims are an important contribution to a very controversial area. Hopkins, like Dr. David M. Jacobs, explores a whole new disturbing aspect quite possibly related to the UFO phenomenon. At the Intruders Foundation, UFOs aren't just lights in the sky.
Jeffrey McGraw is an old friend, and a major love of his life involves writing detective fiction of the "noir" variety. His numerous books are available on the Web and there are more on the way. You'll find no UFOs in his pages, but plenty of crimes and the gumshoe activity favored by fans of this genre.

Kevin Randle is noted for a long history as a UFO researcher and multi-talented book author, associated particularly for delving into the alleged Roswell UFO incident. Randle's blog is frequently updated with essential UFO-related knowledge.

I've only recently added the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) to the link list. The animosity existing in "the old days" between MUFON and Coral Lorenzen (of APRO) is legend, but MUFON has hung in there and currently fills an important place in UFO research.

Robert Remembers: Tribute to a Dog is exactly that. I created a blog over at Word Press and then realized I had nothing to say because all of my entries were directed right here. So, what d'ya do when your blog page goes craving? Why, you do what I did and post pictures of your pets. In my case, to date it's been photos of just my late Pekingese who lived to the age of 17. What I didn't anticipate were the e-mails I received from people who find the site on their own, knowing nothing of my UFO interest. Apparently, the world has a lot of animals lovers, and that's a very good thing. Unfortunately, I don't have the time here to remember all the others in my life, which included numerous other canines, horses, ponies, cats, chameleons, white mice, hamsters and -- of course -- wild critters who always appreciate the food treats but not socialization with humans (a smart move on their part, to be sure!).

The National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP) exists strictly for reports from pilots and aviation personnel. The term, UAP (unidentified aerial phenomenon) is preferred at NARCAP because the customary UFO designation sometimes scares away flight personnel witnesses who simply want no association with that term. I highly recommend NARCAP, affiliated with concerned scientists and aviation authorities, and headed up by Dr. Richard F. Haines with the expert assistance of Ted Roe and others.

The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) is long gone, but a fair sample of what NICAP was all about is preserved at its tribute site, coordinated by former NICAP member, investigator and author Francis Ridge. Formed in 1956, NICAP was a successful UFO lobbying organization in Washington, DC, dedicated to waking Congress and the nation up to the implications of the UFO phenomenon. NICAP made no bones about evidence pointing to an interplanetary source for the UFO. I joined as a member in 1964 and remained so until the organization's demise (an agonizing affair with ups and downs) as the 1970s crept into the eighties.

The National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) was Robert Gribble's baby in the sixties and seventies, later re-energized by Peter Davenport. Serving as a major source where the public may report sightings, Davenport has reportedly become frustrated lately (per Blog De Void -- see link) with people who contact his national toll-free number only to leave obscenities or, if reporting a sighting, refuse to take the time to submit a detailed report. Sadly, these are signs of the times in society.

Presidential UFO is the result of Canadian researcher Grant Cameron's discoveries about U.S. presidents' interest in UFOs. Cameron accomplished numerous trips to presidential libraries and other institutions to inaugurate his huge Web site a few years ago, and his is an historical reference of proportions without competition anywhere in the known universe. When you have the time for some in-depth reading, Cameron's superb site is a must.

The Sign Oral History Project site replaces the original Project 1947 site and is fired up by the work of several respected UFO researchers exploring the early U.S. UFO investigations and the personalities involved. Veteran researcher Thomas Tulien oversees this valuable work.

Richard Hall, recently deceased, was the assistant director of NICAP (above) and integral to the preparation of The UFO Evidence, the classic report on UFOs submitted to every member of Congress in 1964. Hall has authored several books on UFOs and boasts an impressive career in other areas. He was my first contact about UFOs in the sixties, and his influence and caution about the integrity of each UFO case on its own merits has remained with me. I don't know how long his Web site will remain, but I'll keep the link up while it is available.

Robert Barrow's Air Force: Yeah, that's me again, 1968-72. Just a few memories about those years, and, as you'll discover, the old chestnut about there being nothing more appealing to some than a man in uniform simply doesn't apply to me (!). Remember, these were the days when the military draft was in effect, so it's not as if many of us intended to become the career types. We merely wanted to get it over with and get out.

Robert Barrow's Tribute to the 1956 Motion Picture, "U.F.O." is my fourth and final blog. In many ways, it's my favorite of the four. The motion picture was a harbinger of things to come, as well as a celluloid document certifying and authenticating the past. Its influence is timeless, its monumental significance to UFO research unquestionable.

The Debris Field is high among the best of sites which link readers to numerous UFO-related and miscellaneous anomaly stories every day. Lesley operates a great site, easily directing readers to intriguing sites and stories with the click of the mouse. Yes, some of the stuff is far-far out there, but just look at the rest of the world these days and attempt to define "normal."

The J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS): Created by the Air Force's former chief UFO consultant. The late astronomer Hynek changed from skeptic to UFO proponent and wanted science to take the subject seriously. The publications regularly issued by CUFOS in this regard are gems.

UFO Watchdog is a great little site with "halls of shame" where you can learn a lot about the frauds, charlatans and undesirables whom, unfortunately, are about as standard as filth-encrusted bathroom fixtures in the UFO field. Likewise, praise is offered where deserved.

The Virtually Strange Network, home of UFO Updates, is the brainchild of Canadian Errol Bruce-Knapp, and one of the most reliable sites for updated UFO information on the Internet. Errol provides podcasts of his program, "Strange Days...Indeed!" Expenses now require a subscription fee for what used to be free, but you may find your money very well spent here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The One-on-One Win




You don't know this about me and wouldn't care anyway, but I'm not big on athletics, the professional sports trade, that sort of thing. I don't even enjoy playing games, any games; there's something about game time that sets off an internal ticking clock, and instead of finding solace or enjoyment in playing or even watching games, I become aware of life's precious moments slipping away. Ticktock, ticktock, ticktock. Games, hopeless time bandits stealing away one's waking moments with inspired, yet contrived, maneuvers of ultimate futility. Weird, huh?
Maybe the root cause was that time in elementary school gym class when I took a baseball hit directly to my face. Or maybe everything fell apart years later when I played occasional poker games in the Air Force and always lost money. Some of us at the Moody AFB hospital in Georgia would play volleyball now and then, I guess that was okay. Just. I think I really started to swear off the game thing as an Air Force medic, when I had to attend military track and field events to bandage or otherwise help repair sports injuries incurred by participants who suffered trauma because -- let's face it -- they asked for it. We're not talking battlefield injuries here, just mishaps incurred by contenders desirous of putting their testosterone, estrogen and/or arrogance levels on public display. Nor could you drag me to a sports-themed motion picture any day of the week. Ticktock, ticktock, ticktock.

Yet, strangely, there was this movie about basketball I liked, it was entitled "One on One." It came out in ancient 1977 and was a story about a kid with a college basketball scholarship who faced almost insurmountable odds to succeed in...in...I don't know, whatever the heck you want to succeed in by throwing a ball into a hole repeatedly. Come to think of it, I never had a dog that couldn't do that, but, of course, this wasn't a movie about dogs.

I mention this because I've just begun trying to convert a plethora of old LPs into digital format, and I happen to have the "One on One" music soundtrack scheduled for my amateurish attempts. Actually, I have a lot of old movie soundtracks and original cast LPs around, and I just know that by the time I get them all digitalized I'll probably be very old, on my deathbed, blanketed in stacks of archaic compact discs I won't get to hear anyway. Well, at least you athletes reading this will be happy to entertain that little thought.

I'm including the photo on the back of the "One on One" LP. It's interesting because, aside from being a tad goofy by intention, it shows people behind the scenes as well as the movie's star, Robby Benson. That's song lyricist Paul Williams on the left, and way over on the right that's music composer Charles Fox. Hovering a step above in the bleachers are the famous Seals and Crofts, who sing a few songs on the album. I don't know which is which anymore. I probably never did.

The young guy sitting in the middle is actor and sometimes singer Robby Benson. He was popular in his teens, a heartthrob to all the young girls, and he made the rounds on old TV variety programs such as "The Mike Douglas Show." From my personal fund of useless knowledge, of which I'm overstocked, I recall that Benson wrote the "One on One" script with his father, Jerry Segal, and the movie fared respectably in theaters. Incredibly, though quite athletic and enthusiastic about basketball all his life, young Benson and his family long realized that his heart had a serious lifelong defect requiring eventual repair, a procedure not without hazards back then. To the relief of his family and the delight of his fans, Benson came through surgery fine and toured the country to encourage cardiac research. I've always marveled at the speed of medical progress; back in the 1950s a young cousin who endured a "hole" in his heart from birth died on the operating room table when an essential correction was attempted by, at that time, the best --yet extremely dangerous -- efforts that surgeons could offer.

So where was I today? Oh, I know. Somewhere in all of this I wanted to acknowledge that the USA has a new President waiting in the wings. Sen. Barack Obama and the Democrats won some serious political territory on November 4, essentially in a political "one-on-one." The results, in my humble opinion, really should put an end to "The Fairness Doctrine's" potential resurgence (dream on. . .). He's quite the speaker, certainly, but we really don't know much regarding his agenda. Change? Change what? How? Yes we can? No, we can't, can we? I don't even know what that means.

Nevertheless, Obama is now perched to have a crack at fixing a wealth of national and international troubles. And will he help us find out more about UFOs? That's the question. I anxiously await the efforts of dedicated researcher Grant Cameron as he prepares yet another page for his Presidential UFO Web site (see link), where he, no doubt, will document a potential trail of UFO-related crumbs falling from the pockets of an Obama administration. In the meantime, we trust also that journalists such as the great Billy Cox (see link) will pursue even the slightest whisperings of a UFO tell-all uttered by official sources. But would I bet on a UFO breakthrough? Would I bet on a basketball team, let alone play a one-on-one game of UFO truth with the U.S. government? Ticktock. . . ticktock. . . ticktock. . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

First vs. Fair


Uh huh, okay, so Great Britain released more UFO files and some of the contents sparkle. Naturally, neither GB nor the USA has any additional documentation whatsoever regarding that most-touted military pilot almost-shot-a-UFO-down case from 1957. The specifics and particulars never seem to be in (accessible) government files. We in the states continue to wait for our own government to release an extensive array of UFO files. Hurry up and wait, that's still a favorite phrase in the military.
In the meantime, I've been casting a jaundiced eye toward Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), both of whom currently conspire to reintroduce "The Fairness Doctrine," not only to TV and radio broadcasts, but apparently, as something brand spanking new and probably with a less intimidating name, to the Internet as well.

I must say, where UFOs are concerned we already have a fairness doctrine of sorts because almost every time a UFO researcher or investigator appears on some broadcast to champion the subject, equal time or something beyond equal time is awarded by broadcasters to the skeptics or, more likely, the debunkers so they can jump in to ridicule all things UFO with their generally baseless proclamations and rants. To the dismissive folks, verbalizing the tools of science to destroy that which cries out for science just constitutes another day.
Few seem to notice anymore, but we in the USA have something called the First Amendment. Unlike other nations whose dictators and vicious ruling thugs arbitrarily have people killed merely for speaking the wrong words, Americans are guaranteed the right to speak out about all sides of issues. Need I say, a lot of military people died to assure that right.
That's why I'm more than uncomfortable now watching Congress and the FCC in cahoots with one another to once again make us eat a "Fairness Doctrine," a tidy little agreement to assure that all sides of a subject receive representation on radio, TV and, I presume, the Internet (the FCC chairman himself mentioned the Internet recently). Some polls seem to indicate that most Americans desire significant "fairness" changes in media.
My thinking may be terribly flawed, but last time I looked the First Amendment was still kicking about and there remain all manner of outlets where every side of an issue can be aired. I suspect that much of the opposition comes from people who believe Rush Limbaugh and a stable of conservative talk show hosts grab the microphones and selfishly hide them from others with opposing views. Of course, that's nonsense. Radio listeners and TV viewers themselves decide what mode of entertainment or news they desire and they support the all-important sponsor advertising in kind.
As an independent voter, I used to condemn the conservs heartily for the power I imagined they wielded, especially in radio broadcasts, but eventually I realized that, for better or worse, Limbaugh and the rest really did save AM radio from oblivion. Some of you might not like this, but the truth is that I'm all for saving any and all forms of expression. If we have to put up with Limbaugh and others pushing an agenda 24/7 that's just fine because, if we search around, we can easily find other media avenues which offer opposing views. Substantiation of this recognized freedom will become crystal clear if the Democrats win big on Election Day, thus proving that conservative talk show hosts don't hold that much influence and are not to be feared. But -- restrain, shut them up or choke their voices off via the legislated institution of political gang-mentality "fairness" visions? Never. That's what fascist governments do, and we need to fight the urge of politicians-- they, who allegedly serve us -- who stalk the U.S. Constitution with homicidal "fairness" intentions. The best of intentions.
The political system we once embraced has corrupted beyond our wildest dreams, but beware new horizons. Who can we trust? What do we know? For example, I was throwing the term, greenhouse effect all over the place in the early eighties, but now we're all so concerned with global warming that we aren't even paying necessary attention to the growing list of international scientists telling us we're dead wrong. Is there global warming, or are we experiencing a natural cycle in the earth's climate change? What about the discovery that "global warming" is/was concurrently occurring on Mars, a planet over which humans have no climate influence (oops, that is, not yet)? Do we believe politicians or scientists? I'll choose the latter, thank you, but I'll keep an open mind as the evidence surfaces either way.
The country is in turmoil right now on several fronts. The Fairness Doctrine is one of the most evil tools a free society could ever institute, especially now when we need free, open and unobstructed expression more than ever. I'll even listen to pure crazy on the radio, it can't be any worse than the poop Congress and the President are dragging us through. But for my government to promise legislation to assure "fairness" at this point is nonsense. Our national government as it currently stands has screwed up beyond belief, and we and your offspring will pay the price for generations to come. The nation sizzles, darned nearly a flaming wreck, and all our officials can do is fiddle around and come up with massive economic bailouts and cutesy little adornments such as The Fairness Doctrine. The enforcement of badly required integrity in Washington would carry far more weight than attempts to tell private broadcast companies and individuals how much they can say before it's somebody else's turn and then somebody else's, etc., etc. The USA electronic media ain't European radio or TV, Jack, and I don't want to mirror Chinese, Russian or Venezuelan broadcasts, either. Let us not, in any way, give the old heave-ho to the First Amendment by throwing its very definition into our potential national flaming wreck like an accelerant.
National elections draw near. Maybe you, like me, are an independent voter, or maybe you belong to the Republican Party, the Democrat Party or the Vampire Party (I borrowed that one from NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live" -- maybe I like it because the designation seems to exemplify political affiliations). Whatever your political persuasion, as soon as the games are over and the chosen have assumed or resumed their places in government from coast to coast, I ask that my readers e-mail or, even better, write letters to your own representatives. Tell them, plainly and kindly, that we don't need a fairness doctrine or anything else to interfere with free speech. And, above all, tell 'em to keep their hands off our Internet. Some influential members of Congress are itching to gain more and more control over the Net and, in fact, they've already had many personal wishes granted by allowing the big communications players to assume an uncomfortable level of control. The FCC aims to oblige -- the same FCC whose original responsibilities involved assigning broadcast airwave locations and little more; the same FCC which now enforces broadcast morality and other goals using legal intimidation (however, thankfully, that didn't work out to the commission's benefit when it undertook big-brother tactics in that ridiculous CBS-TV/Janet Jackson fiasco).
And, not to be forgotten. . .later on, send another message to your congressional reps. Remind them that we want the truth about UFOs. If other countries can open their files, so should ours. It's supposed to be a new day dawning after the darkness, isn't it? We'll see.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Taking Gary McKinnon for a Little Swim




I've thought a lot about Gary McKinnon recently. You know, he's the 40-something guy in the UK who, to say the least, is rather handy with a computer -- so handy, in fact, that he's to be extradited to the USA for allegedly doing extensive damage to government property here in the states. Said to be under the influence of cannabis as he successfully broke into the supposedly secure computer files of NASA and the U.S. military, McKinnon claims to have uncovered, amongst other things, government photos of real UFOs. I guess UFOs were his primary mission, his reason for conducting a home invasion of sorts in all of this. In the process, apparently a million dollars in damage was accomplished, or so says the U.S. government. Is that all? Good lord, didn't our own homegrown Wall Street terrorists spend years giving us an infinitely more costly economic enema with the help of sleeping congressional overseers and political parties? I digress. I badly need a cigarette right now, but I have none, and I don't smoke anyway. Learning to smoke would waste too much time and today's blog entry would never get finished. I fret too much.




I'm an Air Force veteran. You might suspect that I don't fancy the idea of people in other countries compromising our security, and that's correct, I don't. So, what to do with Mr. McKinnon, as a consequence of his actions? Maybe we could waterboard him -- after all, in his native land he enjoys "surfing" the Web, no? Clever attempt at humor there, didn't work out well.




As you read this, there are people all over the world attempting to access U.S. government computers for the sole purpose of causing mayhem tilted toward their own interests.. They're in North Korea, Russia, China, Iran -- you know, all the usual places and more than a few unusual ones. Obviously, U.S. computer hackers do the same spy work, and they deserve our thanks and appreciation for helping to keep us free, for snooping on and deterring forces consistent with pure evil. McKinnon comes to mind.




McKinnon? Gary McKinnon? I don't know. I've heard him speak and I've read his words and, frankly, every time I try to place him in the Pure Evil category I burst out laughing. Yep, he was a naughty one, but a few inescapable things must be noted before a potential government lynching or exposure to the cat-o'-nine tails proceeds.




First of all, the guy is obviously scared to death. He should be, no doubt. He also performed a valuable service to our government by breaking into the house, because his success demonstrated a vulnerability that needed repair by somebody other than whatever U.S. government boobs developed such an easily compromised security system. Who really put us at risk, anyway?


At best, I think, our government and corporate computer systems are protected by cheesecloth; at worst, as the children's storybooks warned, by the emperor's new clothes.


I was raised on typewriters, and well into my adult years when a computer was thrust into my life. I worked for the government at the time and had used trusty IBM Selectric typewriters for years when, suddenly, one of those digital beasts from hell was placed on my desk. The friendly Selectric was confiscated, never to be seen again. I was then given precious little training on the new technology and left to my own devices. I figured out enough on my own to use the computer, but felt increasingly uncomfortable with its intricacies.




"What's the problem?" another employee asked.




"I don't trust this infernal contraption," I replied. "Just look at this thing." "The keyboard is detached from the unit, and whatever you see on the screen isn't really there, it doesn't exist."




"Of course it's all there," she said. "You type characters, just like regular typing, and the results show up on the screen."




"But, " I protested, "let's say I type a page on the computer and then throw a rock through the screen -- everything's gone. Yet, if I use a typewriter, remove the paper, place it on the floor and drop a rock on it, the page remains basically intact. That's real, solid -- the computer just fakes it."




"That's nonsense," she advised. "You can print onto paper anything you type into the computer, and then you can drop your rock on that and it will still be there."




"Yes," I countered with pretend exasperation, "but each keystroke has to go somewhere else before the characters reach the printer. With the Selectric, you hit the key and the element prints a character right before your eyes. On the computer, the detached keyboard requires that you hit the key and then -- where does all of this go before reaching the screen and printer? What form does it take in mid-stream along the way? Where does it go whenever you send the electronic signals here or anywhere? The paper printed by the computer isn't my original document."




As I recall, the woman walked away, shaking her head. I guess I was impossible.




I'll bet Gary McKinnon knows where the electronic impulses go. I'll bet he knows where to put them, where to find them, how to manipulate them and how to make them his best friend. Stack his computer knowledge next to mine, and I look like a babbling infant. Still, I know enough to realize, especially during electronic lapses of national computer security, that our country is protected by Pac-Man impersonators.




In the Air Force, every time I left the base or returned there were military policemen on duty who determined whether or not I posed a threat, vigilant sentries who checked my credentials before allowing me access or exit. Of course, those were the sixties and early seventies, the days of old to some and the days of yore to many. And now we have the wonderful digital era.



Pac-Man's modern generation, more than the human sentries, protects us now. Random collections of digital images supposedly keep us safe. Pixels, mere pixels arranged by experts (a favorite word of mine) do the work, and we depend upon pixels for everything. Little ones and zeros keep us safe, entertained and hypnotized. Pixels are our friends and they're best buddies with the Gary McKinnons of the world, any time of the day or night.




So the U.S. government, my government, insists upon inviting Gary McKinnon to our shores. He didn't want to come and many of his own supporters and government personnel didn't want him to venture in this direction. Never mind, he's coming, and he's coming because the U.S. demanded his presence in order to get an in-your-face accounting of his activities. And the punishment will be dealt. We in the USA have a remarkable capacity for doing good things for the world, but we also relish the bureaucracy of punishment at home. Last I heard, proportionately we have more prisoners locked up than any other nation. Indeed, it might be argued that our prison system feeds on itself. I suspect there are lots of folks who shouldn't be in prison, while lots of people who should be locked up for life are not and never will be. But hey, did I mention Wall Street, Congress or the newly discovered thieving greedy?




In the meantime, our lives are protected by Pac-Man's odd assortment of digital friends. They fly planes, control weapons systems, direct battleships and nuclear facilities, position satellites and play music for us. Still, the music sounded sweeter when it originated from the needle gliding over the record grooves, when we knew we, and not Pac-Man's descendants, were the gods of the needle. We were in control, once upon a time.




Gary McKinnon was in control, too, but not in master control. Surely, he recognizes this now.




Hey, U.S. government, my government-- I have a few words for you: You wanted McKinnon, and you shall have him. I know he's in big trouble, but I'm not sure that he's a "terrorist" or really worth exposure to prison time. Whatever damage he caused, he also whipped our butts and redefined the word, "security" for us, and for that kindness maybe he deserves a debt of gratitude. I also suspect there's just a teeny-tiny bit of sadistic avenging going on here as well, because McKinnon represents, soon by his presence, all the really, really dangerous hackers we can't reach in rogue nations. If you can't hook a whale, the minnow will do. And -- oh, there is one more little thing before I close today.




Ever since I first read about UFOs in the late fifties, and particularly in the early sixties, all I've heard from my government and various military spokesmen is that UFOs represent no threat to our national security. Yet, Mr. McKinnon, this allegedly evil computer monster and potential blood-sucking terror suspect claims to have seen photos of real UFOs in secret government computer files. Sensible public voices might ask, if UFOs are not a national security threat, why in the world would legitimate UFO photos be socked away in secure government files? Hmm. I realize that the U.S. possesses all sorts of weird-looking thingies that fly and go bump in the night that we don't and probably shouldn't know about, so maybe McKinnon actually misrepresented some of that, I don't know.







Chances are, he didn't see images of real UFOs. Then again. . .




My dear, dear government -- you insisted that McKinnon be brought to our soil. That being the case, it is my duty as an American to strongly suggest that the UFO issue play a prominent role in the case against the lad. Gary McKinnon's defense, and I can't imagine what shape that will take, should and must demand as the muck gets tossed around that the UFO issue be addressed. Did he see real UFOs? If so, those photos and all information about them must be released publicly, simply because UFOs represent no threat to our national security. Good grief, I know that phrase better than the alphabet by now.







I enthusiastically urge those defending McKinnon to raise the UFO issue and shout its relevance from the rooftops. Remember, my government went through a diplomatic hissy-fit to get his butt over here, so let the legal chips fall where they must and make triple certain that the 10-ton UFO elephant officially ignored on the living room sofa gets top billing. When all is said and done, legal proceedings might even let Mr. McKinnon return home, though it might make infinitely more sense to hire the guy and learn from him.




So, welcome soon to the United States, Mr. McKinnon, you of the computer geek world where lightning-fast capabilities just helped throw the world into lightning-faster financial chaos -- you of a world both protected and violated by the pixilated relatives of Pac-Man. Will you rock the world if, indeed, the UFO issue is allowed a proper airing? Or, as if by the sheer poetry of voodoo justice, will you simply be gobbled up like a Pac-Man victim?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

1978's UFO Legacy, Congress and Mental Health




Regular readers of this blog know that I previously offered a few entries (see) about UFO activity in New York State during 1978. While my efforts and those of other investigators concentrated in large part upon Central NY, other areas of the state were seemingly engulfed in UFO activity as well.

Thirty years have gone by, and that's a long time. Yet, since starting this blog I've received a persistent trickle of comments from readers about their 1978 UFO sightings in New York. Like the original onslaught of reports, these are not the "I saw a light in the sky" sort of thing," which are truly a dime a dozen and usually mean little or nothing in terms of investigations and explanations. Indeed, no, these range from a possible multiple-witness UFO encounter over a highway with a "missing time" aspect, to a close-up daylight encounter. From what little I know (very little) of the witnesses, these dramatic experiences of three decades' vintage have remained with them, sometimes accompanied by disturbing emotions and thoughts.

I need to say from the outset, by the way, that I respect the anonymity they request and expect.
That's the thing about UFO encounters. There are questions, fears and the hope that somebody will tell you you're not crazy (and heaven help you if some ill-informed medical professional attributes your experience to "sleep paralysis", a hopelessly unfashionable explanation akin, in my opinion, to a nonsensical parlor game played by professional people with too much "missing time" in their own educational experiences). Worse, there are so few outlets, none with adequate funding, for UFO observers to contact. For witnesses involved with possible "missing time" issues, my first suggestion is usually The Intruders Foundation and its founder, Budd Hopkins. For those wishing to get their reports (no matter how old) on file, I would suggest the National UFO Reporting Center (see link) or the Center for UFO Studies (see link), and there are also MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) contacts around the country.

However, despite the extreme dedication expressed by a few private organizations and the numerous individuals supporting their work, we're in the same old sinking boat -- abominable funding, inadequate publicity abilities and, unfortunately, woefully insufficient (that is, zero) open government involvement.

In the previous entry, I posed the ongoing question, where is Congress? Well, now we know where Congress is. After the House followed its first impression and defeated bailout legislation, the Senate got into the act last week and pimped so many bribes and pork into its version that the House, now effectively wined and dined and drunkened by the mere prospect of fiddling away even more of the economy as the nation waits to erupt like Vesuvius, couldn't resist.
So, yes, I still receive the occasional UFO puzzle fragment from 1978, and I'm reminded as recently as last week that a corpuscular governing body so consumed by the greed of itself and others can hardly be expected to see things as they really are. My sympathies are with those who experience disturbing UFO encounters, all the more because there's so little we can do for them under current circumstances.

One little intriguing "bailout" development is Congress's decision to include mental health legislation in the final bill, requiring insurance companies to fund mental health on par with physical health care. I don't know that this was the time or place to attach this issue, with everything else submerged in the glue trap -- not because such care isn't important, and of course it is -- because one can soberly contemplate whether there's too ambitious a goal at some government levels to label a significant amount of the population with mental disorders. Sleep paralysis comes to mind Those words again. Hmm. UFO abduction equals sleep paralysis. It must be true -- didn't we see the concept rehashed via David Muir on ABC-TV's recent UFO rehash-rehash?

With the blessings of our economically catatonic Congress, maybe sleep paralysis can be entered as an explanation for claims of UFO abductions in hospital DSM directories (the DSM comprises loads of numbers assigned to various medical diagnoses so that everybody's medical records can be easily computerized and statistics compiled into charts and graphs that allow the sum total of one person to be based upon the sum total of a lot of everybody else -- thus requiring one's medical treatment to be based not upon being an individual, but based upon what others like that person are being treated with -- and I hasten to add that few who deal with DSMs would agree with that viewpoint, of course). Besides, it sounds s-o-o-o-o official, so medically all-encompassing, so relevant to every aspect of a purported UFO abduction. Sleeeeeeeeeeep par-a-ly-sis. Wow.

Actually, sleep paralysis is already listed in DSM criteria, so throwing the UFO designation in to create even more medical, insurance and government bureaucracy and human cognitive denigration wouldn't be a stretch.
All things considered, I guess maybe it would be easier to label people observing UFOs as disturbed than to provide funding for a proper UFO inquiry. I don't know, but I suspect that filling out the paperwork at a mental institution and officially diagnosing folks with the assistance of one-size-fits-all standards requires far less effort than completing a detailed UFO report form, investigating and asking Congress to address an extraordinary mystery whose implications may already have humbled us all.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Congressional UFO: A Perfect Storm Gone Missing



For starters, I'm thinking maybe it's sunspots. No, make that sunspot, just one, because after a peculiar lull in sunspot activity, I understand the sun finally coughed one up a few days ago. Maybe that's when our little corner of the universe did a flip and encouraged Washington to admit the country's financial mess BEFORE the November elections. This borders on the incredible. This sort of thing routinely stays below DC's mucky infrastructure until just after voters make their polling place choices, and then, pow, out comes the truth we should have been informed about before, smashed right into our faces as if administered by Uncle Sam cloaked as a jack-in-the-box.

Washington is top-heavy with people charged to oversee a nebulous bigger picture, but the economic quagmire remained off the scope -- intentionally, it will be argued, in order to serve those who supposedly serve us -- until it darned nearly burst, spraying its feculent contents across the nation, across the world. Or, hmm, maybe the whole pile was sprung on us prior to the elections clearly for political reasons of another sort. The mind boggles.

If we can believe polls, respect for the work Congress performs hovers at a record low. Big surprise there. Anyway, what about Congress and its role in matters of importance, of urgency? With so many issues awarded little more than lip service in the House and Senate over the years, is it really out of the question to assume that the time has come when there's no more space under that congressional rug where matters of masked significance have been swept? Out of sight, out of mind -- out at last?

The delicate little matter of UFOs has received some congressional attention, particularly in the House of Representatives, in the past. Nevertheless, for all the word-slinging dramatized on several hastily conducted occasions since the fifties, what did we get? Come on, say it, say the words: We got Dr. Ed Condon and his no-good-feel-good UFO project at the University of Colorado.

Additionally, as has recently come to light (I believe this originated with researcher Brad Sparks and his information was related via UFO Updates, though I have not seen Sparks' complete article as I write this), there were far more UFO cases left unexplained by Colorado than indicated originally. Even more fascinating, however, it's now claimed that Dr. Condon didn't even read or review the final report before rubber-stamping the whole fetid mess.

So, we really need to ask again, what should Congress do about UFOs? That government entity believes as a whole that the issue was settled in Colorado, even though the preponderance of evidence clearly shows it was not. Yes, there are said to be individual members who would welcome and encourage new hearings about UFOs, but on their own they aren't likely to present a challenge to the uncaring majority.

If you've read this blog from the beginning, you've already witnessed a scanned sample of letters I received since the sixties from various congressional representatives. In general, caution is the theme. They don't wish to seem over-zealous about a UFO investigation, yet they aren't about to respond to a constituent by questioning the writer's sanity, either.

The traditional approach Congress takes when the UFO topic is broached, a textbook lesson, couldn't have been laid out any better than it was in 1964, when the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP, see link)) published The UFO Evidence, prepared under the superb editorial guidance of Richard Hall. Intended as a warning to Congress that UFOs were important and in need of scientific inquiry, a copy of this book-sized document was given to every member of Congress. However, even with an impressive wave of UFO sightings occurring in the U.S. throughout 1964, congressional response seemed lackluster at best.

The thing is, 1964 actually created a "perfect storm" for the UFO issue, or should have. The paradox is that Congress should have gone on full-alert instead of sleeping at the switch upon receipt of NICAP's document because 1964, and then 1965 and 1966, boasted a disturbing array of UFO events. The "nail-biter" UFO cases came rolling in from all over the country, well-witnessed, and this time many involved physical evidence such as landing traces and marks on the ground in quantities perhaps unparalleled since the electromagnetic (EM) UFO events reported widely in the 1950s. Nevertheless, some in Congress politely thanked NICAP for The UFO Evidence, some members voiced concern and then business as usual engulfed the world of legislation and oversight. UFOs associated with 1965's "Great Northeastern Power Blackout" and other reports, and the concern for the 1966 Michigan sightings in then-Congressman Gerald Ford's territory helped herald in what relevant hearings Congress held, but still -- 1964 should have been the banner year for decisive congressional action.

Another part of that perfect storm, though still a segment invisible to the casual observer, involved the Air Force's chief UFO consultant and (formerly) ardent skeptic, astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who was coming to a highly disturbing personal realization that UFOs represented something real and important. In an article which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post of December 17, 1966, Dr. Hynek reminisced about his reconsideration of the evidence:

"From time to time I would urge the Air Force to make a more thorough study of the phenomenon, but nothing ever came of it. . .As the years went by, I continued to find cases that puzzled me. . .I was not consulted on some key cases.

". . .since 1964, " Hynek continued, "there has been a sharp rally in the number of puzzling sightings. The more impressive cases seem to fit into a pattern. The UFO's had a bright red glow. They hovered a few feet off the ground, emitting a high-pitched whine. Animals in the vicinity were terrified, often before the UFO's became visible to the people who later reported the incident. When the objects at last began to disappear, they vanished in a matter of seconds. . .As the Air Force's consultant, I was acquiring a reputation in the public eye of being a debunker of UFO's. Yet, privately, I was becoming more and more concerned over the fact that people with good reputations, who had no possible hope of gain from reporting a UFO, continued to describe 'out-of-this-world' incidents."

A chapter in The UFO Evidence (the entire document can be viewed for free at NICAP.org, just consult the on-site search engine) entitled, "Congress and the UFOs" contained comments gleaned from 1957 to 1963 via letters received by NICAP members from congressional representatives. I urge you to read the entire document, one of the best sources about the UFO phenomenon ever published, but for purposes of my blog entry today please review the congressional chapter. You'll find that wishy-washy attitudes haven't changed much in the succeeding decades, even though there are a few gems amongst congressional members who took the bold lead of saying what needed to be said. A generous sample of those particular responses is included below, with NICAP's own comments left intact when included:

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Senator Barry Goldwater (R. Ariz.) - August 31, 1957: "I am an Air Force Reserve Officer and have been one for the past 27 years and, consequently, I am, indeed, interested in unidentified flying objects. I, frankly, feel that there is a great deal to this and I have discussed it often with many Air Force Officers. . . "

Congressman William H. Ayres (R. Ohio) - January 28, 1958: "Congressional investigations have been held and are still being held on the problem of unidentified flying objects and the problem is one in which there is quite a bit of interest. . Since most of the material presented to the Committees is classified, the hearings are never printed. When conclusions are reached they will be released if possible. . ."

Senator Thomas J. Dodd (D. Conn.) - February 27, 1960: "Thank you for your recent letter concerning unidentified flying objects. This is a matter which has always aroused my interest and curiosity."

In a telecast March 14, Senator Dodd enlarged on his statement in answer to a newsman's question: "UFOs have never been accurately explained. I think there is as much reason to believe that there is something to them as there is for believing that there is not. There is certainly reason for thinking we don't have all the facts and certainly the Senate committee dealing with space should have all the facts."

Congresswoman Gracie Pfost (D. Idaho) - March 25, 1960: ". . . regarding flying objects. I am interested in this subject also, and you will want to know that after conversing with the Air Force Department I am not completely satisfied with the information they gave me..."

Congresswoman Florence P. Dwyer (R. N.J.) - April 26, 1960: "I am not one of those who arbitrarily dismiss 'flying saucers' as figments of the imagination. I take them seriously, and I certainly would have no objections to a careful and reasonable investigation of this phenomenon. Too many intelligent and thoroughly responsible people, who have been in positions to observe such unidentified foreign objects, have testified to their conviction that such objects exist for me or anyone else to deny the validity of their observations. Under careful supervision, and with the proper safeguards, I would think that a Congressional investigation would be a worthwhile undertaking. . ."

Senator Harry F. Byrd (D. Va.) - May 9, 1961: "As you know, I am a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and this Committee is frequently briefed on the subject matter of your communication. Access to U.F.O. files is necessarily restricted. . ."

June: News stories began to appear stating that the House Committee on Science & Astronautics was considering holding hearings on UFOs.

Waterbury (Conn.) Republican, June 20: Bulkley Griffin, reporting from Washington, said the House Space Committee would conduct hearings, "according to present plans of Chairman Overton Brooks. He is designating a subcommittee to hear witnesses. Rep. Joseph H. Karth, (D. Minn.), will head the subcommittee it is stated. . The question whether all the subcommittee sessions will be secret or whether some will be public, has not been finally decided. "

In their column June 26, Robert S. Allen and Paul Scott reported: "The Unidentified Flying Objects, that have been mysteriously appearing over the U. S. for years, are going to be investigated by the House Space Committee."

July 3, Newsweek, in its "Periscope" column, reported that a three-man House subcommittee would soon start a UFO probe, beginning with Air Force reports.

(By August 6, Bulkley Griffin reported a hitch in the investigation. in a story headlined "Flying Object Probe Out This Session," the Waterbury Republican said no investigation would be held. "The Air Force is understood to have succeeded in blocking it. . (Rep.) Karth has declared he won't serve unless some public hearings are permitted and (Chairman) Brooks has always been against public hearings. It is believed, however, that the Air Force, as usual, has been urging against any UFO hearings at all.")

Congressman Glenn Cunningham (R. Nebr.) - August 8, 1963: "I think it quite possible that the Air Force is withholding information about at least a certain number of these [sightings] because I have found that the military services in the past have sometimes acted in a secretive way in other matters when there was really no justification for it. . ."

(End of NICAP material from The UFO Evidence)
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See? The more things change, the more they really do stay the same. Hearings come and go-- or don't occur at all -- and still the questions linger. How about Senator Byrd's interesting statement? Access to UFO files is "necessarily" restricted?!!

And now we have official Washington and Congress scratching and clawing through its and Wall Street's inescapable detritus, putting on a public face of cooperation, trying to show us that when emergency action is required they can handle the job. But.. .

Why did the UFO issue not receive such treatment? Too weird, too hard to believe? Throngs of people accept on pure faith that Jesus rose from the dead, but impressive UFO evidence can't be considered, oh no, no. It's so much safer politically to embrace the known, absorb comfort from the legend and exclude the unknown-- even when that unknown screams out for investigation. Military pilot UFO observations and radar confirmation, dangerous airline passenger encounters with UFOs, marks and burns and even radioactive traces left on the ground after UFO landings, astounding examples of immense energy sources associated with UFO propulsion, uncomfortably forthright reports of UFOs related to alleged human abductions -- hello?! Where was Congress? Where is Congress?

This is urgent, highly relevant stuff, habitually deserving of "red alert" status, and 44 years ago congressional leaders were presented a golden opportunity and sense of urgency to investigate the issue when simultaneously confronted with astounding new cases and the unique NICAP document calling for action.

As a 15-year-old in April of 1964, I remember the sense of awe I felt when the nation's wire services, radio and TV crackled with constantly updated reports of a dramatic UFO sighting experienced by patrolman Lonnie Zamora in Socorro, New Mexico, something about an egg-shaped object accompanied by small beings on the desert floor, an object that took off with a roar, barely missing a dynamite shack. Then other accounts, good reports, began appearing via the nation's press. Within days, the major UFO organizations were sending out bulletins detailing landings, scorched ground, all sorts of evidence that couldn't be ignored. The Socorro UFO itself left behind landing marks and vegetation that continued to burn 24 hours later, even as Air Force investigators and representatives from who-knows-what spook agencies traversed the area. Congress, for the most part, napped.

For some reason, other nations appear far more willing to spotlight the UFO as a serious scientific issue, while U.S. officials charged with our defense routinely ignore, politely dismiss, chuckle or sneer away the whole "damned" thing -- at least publicly -- and we tire of their arrogance.

Frankly, I expect more from my country's leaders than their current belated attentiveness to mopping up after the thugs and exceptionally bad legislation that allowed the nation's wealth to be plundered and misdirected. But if members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate really care about the future, if they are sincere about supporting science and accomplishing magnificent discoveries yet undreamt, then learning more about and telling us more about who or what randomly invades our air space, our nuclear and military facilities-- and sometimes our very lives -- is the best place to start. We must insist, because we have the right to know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Word Gardener's Harvest










The UFO subject plays no part in today's entry, but a key reason why you're able to read about the UFO subject coherently in this blog does.


Upon entry into college in 1972, following my Air Force discharge during the Vietnam Era, it was truly a pleasure to take a total of three English courses with David Feldman, now Professor Emeritus of English and Journalism at Onondaga Community College, just outside of Syracuse, NY. He developed the school's journalism program and was the founding adviser of its student newspaper.


Admittedly, I took classes so boring from other instructors that attendance was akin to watching paint or academia dry, but Mr. Feldman's classrooms showcased a teacher with the energy to inspire and encourage students who wanted to learn and improve their abilities to communicate via the written word.


As stated, you'll find no UFOs here today -- yet, strangely, mentor Feldman, an Army veteran, recently surprised me with disclosure of his familiarity with the legend of Camp Hero in New York, said to be the source of some very peculiar (not so peculiar, in his view) incidents (Google Camp Hero for more).

Perpetually engaged in life's activities, he also taught in the Department of Drama at Syracuse University, and at Lesley College and SUNY (State University of NY) College at Cortland, NY. In the typical male tradition (!) David also knows and loves cars, and several years ago wrote a newspaper column about automobiles and regularly attended popular racing events at Watkins Glen in NY.

However, there's another side to the professor, that of successful playwright. Feldman's plays have been produced off-off-Broadway, in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, the Boston area, Ithaca and Syracuse. Notably, he proudly founded Armory Square Playhouse, Central New York's only theater company devoted to the development of new plays by area writers, serving as its artistic director for 23 exciting years.


Pictured is David Feldman today and in 1977, when his one-act play, "Steinberg" was produced off-Broadway at the Quaigh Theater in NY City.


So, dear reader, should you happen to like the way I write (as opposed, of course, to the things I say and those rare instances when I start raving), a demonstrable portion of style can be directly attributed to my teacher and friend, David Feldman. Yes, this is a tribute, and I'm willing to bet that his name never appeared in a stranger place. Oh, most assuredly not.