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.

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?


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 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. . .