Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Season of the Mask

It's fitting that Halloween and Election Day share such close quarters on the calendar. This Sunday, people of all ages will temporarily escape their true identities and make believe they're something different. On Tuesday, we'll vote nationally for people who likewise wear reality-altering masks for all occasions, every day: Politicians.

Because "change" is again in the wind, I suggest the Democrats and Republicans dispense with the donkey and elephant images and perhaps replace them with, as shown here, a mask-and-gun villain or the giant experimental critter gone wrong from the movie, "Tarantula." Fangs you can believe in.

One thing seems likely: The chances for UFO disclosure may be even less likely in the near future. "Tea Party" candidates, if anything, appear particularly focused upon fiscal responsibility, the Constitution and religious ideals, and their uneasy affiliation with the GOP and nonetheless crucial issues of national defense might effectively sweep the UFO issue under a very thick government rug already rife with neglected subterranean bumps beneath its fibers.

And again we ask -- President Jimmy Carter, where is the truth about UFOs? And John Podesta, hey, weren't you on a mission to reveal the facts about. . .? Didn't we anticipate, once known, that President Bill and Hillary Clinton's UFO interest would eventually result in. . .??? Grant Cameron's Presidential UFO Web site (see link) addresses such questions in detail, and while donkeys and elephants will consume an unfortunately small percentage of American voters next week, the elephant most enduring is that officially unacknowledged two-ton pachyderm reposing comfortably still on the sofa in the living room.

MAYBE THEY DIDN'T PAY THE ELECTRIC BILL? Hot on the heels of Robert Hastings' UFOs & nukes presentation at the National Press Club, here comes Wyoming's Warren Air Force Base this week with news of a "power failure" affecting a battery of nuclear missiles. Move along, folks, nothing to see here. And, after all, it IS almost Halloween. The Warren event was just a kinda sorta routine power loss, one-of-those-things, and hardware was still functional with a backup power system, we are told. And nary an inference about UFOs. None, in fact. Whew. That's reassuring. Then again, if UFOs were involved, how would we know, other than waiting until Hastings' next conference 10 or 20 years from now, when on-site personnel come forward?

Or. . .could the whole thing have been staged to somehow lessen interest in Hastings' press club affair (see, this stuff happens all the time at nuke bases. . .and we don't need UFOs to do it. . .) Good grief, now I sound like a conspiracy fan.

The power failure issue, for me, became secondary to the media's treatment of the story. Early reports stated that the White House had been fully informed at once, but later in the morning today (Wednesday) at least one broadcast alleged that the WH didn't know about the incident until hours or days after the affair. We assume this will all be sorted out quickly, and the public will be issued as much of an explanation as we deserve. Ha. UPDATE: Aha, so it was just a computer problem and not a power failure. Well, I feel a lot better now, how about you?

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Fish with a Human Face

We so enjoy the experience when Dr. This or Dr. That clears his throat authoritatively, pats multiple diplomas lovingly and announces that life on other planets almost certainly won't resemble us. These, by the way, are the same folks whose egos and education teeter unsteadily, jeopardized by unspoken fears of instant irrelevancy one day if the science wrapped around UFOs becomes apparent.

But it's still Halloween month, UFOs or not-UFOs are showing up all across the skies, darned nearly smiling for the cameras and nobody knows for sure what's going on. At least today I can spotlight a fifties fright film that WASN'T responsible for causing UFO panic in the streets, or making legitimate reports appear fringe sci-fi.

And if the title of this entry led you to believe this is about mermaids, well, sorry to disappoint you. Not exactly a mermaid here. Nevertheless. . .

His aquatically disturbing appearance fascinated theater audiences everywhere, scared teenage girls into their boyfriends' willing arms and undoubtedly, in the preliminary tradition of a future shark named "Jaws," kept a few people from the beach and precipitated water-based hoaxes aplenty. His name? Who needs a name when christened "The Creature From the Black Lagoon?" How can anybody forget your monster designation when you return in a sequel entitled, "The Revenge of the Creature?" How tired can you become of being THE creature by the time producers attempt a surgical conversion to landlubber status for you, as they churn out "The Creature Walks Among Us?"

Scary, yes, but The Creature spawned an attribute missing from current-day digital monster recipes: Pathos. He evoked pity as well as fear, this fishy miscreant whose killings ranked only secondary to the invasion of his watery space by humans intent upon capture, domination and, ultimately, humiliation bent upon surgically forcing him to transform into something he could never be: Us. How could we possibly tame the beast when we are the beast?

True, when all the water dripped off, the cameras stopped rolling and zippers unzipped, there were only men in rubbery monster costumes who portrayed Universal International Pictures' scaly throwback darling of the deep. But until then, lenses -- even 3-D lenses on one thrilling occasion -- painted a picture of horror balanced equitably with a dash of pity.

There was a time less cluttered, you may recall, when movie makers lovingly knew how to create memorable monsters with character, avoiding, for a while at least, vacuous cookie-cutter format slashers possessive of neither heart nor soul.

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO AND OTHER FAULTS IN THE CRUST: During my four reluctant (but highly productive) military years -- that means, essentially, that the draft pursued me and I enlisted -- long ago, one thing keeping me going was an appreciation of freedom of speech in the U.S. Oh yes, speech constraint during one's military time is a valid consideration, when national security is involved. But in daily civilian life, unless one libels or slanders somebody or something, say whatever you like. The First Amendment, as society has noted time and again, particularly serves to protect unpopular speech.

Too bad National Public Radio doesn't get it. I really don't give a flip about Juan Williams, but his statements on Fox-TV should not have resulted in a loss of his job (bulletin -- just hired by Fox at two million a year). You know what? I feel uncomfortable sitting next to people in Muslim garb, too. NO, I wasn't raised that way -- the 9/11 event and follow-up incidents such as the Fort Hood massacre tipped the scales because, hmm, whadoyaknow, terrorist acts routinely have radical Muslims behind them. Unfortunately, those of the Muslim faith don't come equipped like "E.T." with red or green lights glowing in their chest cavities so we can tell who is whom.

Yet, I'm not without compassion. Maybe I'd be willing to travel to the Middle East and form women's diving and synchronized swimming teams for radical Muslim women wearing burkas. Imagine that image on TV? There's nothing like time travel back through the centuries.

I think the Williams thing surfaced especially because he appeared on Fox ("the enemy"). Strange, too, that everybody's fave benefactor George Soros just gave a million bucks to public radio to encourage journalism or something or another. Hmm.

We look around and find, here and there, firings of people in media who express personal views. I've heard that Facebook is discouraging anti-gay comments, doubtless because of recent tragic gay teen suicides. However, again, the First Amendment exists to protect unpopular comments. Me, I'm 110 percent for gay people serving openly in the military, but if somebody wants to condemn the thought in strong terms publicly, go for it. It's your right.

Should NPR be de-funded of government contributions? Maybe. Why shouldn't they stand on their own two feet like commercial networks must? The thing is, we want ALL views of an issue to be heard and protected as free speech, and the less government control in this area the better. The FCC? Representative of what? And Juan Williams -- I believe he just received a crippling overdose of the poison embraced by radicals in media, government and education. It's name is political correctness, it ain't pretty and it's been in our neighborhoods much too long.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Post Hole Digger

Oh cry, cry the wretched literary disparity necessitated by freedom of the press at The Washington Post.

It was a dark and stormy night. No, wait, I think that's been done before. It was the best of times, it was the worst. . .darn, this is so difficult sometimes.

Please be assured, I wish no ill will toward John Kelly, staff writer at the Post, who seemed surprised to receive a wealth of angry mail following his, hmm, rather dismissive piece about Robert Hastings' (nonetheless important) UFOs and nukes presentation before the National Press Club on September 27. In his October 5 article, journalist Kelly sampled a few pieces of mail sent along by folks who thought maybeeeeee he should have attended for other reasons than merely to enjoy the donuts.

So the donuts, like the NPC proceedings, by now have been long swallowed, digested, fermented and, um, dispatched. And Mr. Kelly's report about the affair, ufologically focused though it could have been, will be remembered as a few paragraphs about donuts at some press meeting relative to something or another.

But what a difference a few years make. Instead of lamenting what is, better that I return to those thrilling days of yesteryear and what was. Witness The Washington Post in July, 2007, and, being much too lazy to come up with new verbiage today, I'll quote from a 2007 five-part article I wrote for this blog entitled, "As Weird as it Gets." You can access the series in the search engine above if you wish, but here's the portion regarding the variety of journalistic face I prefer worn at the WP:


most of us slept during the wee small hours of July 26, 2007, oblivious to the routine world of consciousness, a fast-paced drama portrayed to the press in benign terms, yet of perhaps immense significance simply because the public learned of it at all, was playing out over the skies of Maryland, not all that far from the highly restricted air space of the nation's Capitol. While the basics happened to emerge here and there from the deluge of information that confronts newspaper and electronic media editors daily, chances are good that the story escapes you to this very day.

Around 1:00 on that otherwise quiet Friday morning, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado made radar contact with an apparent low, slow-moving aircraft outside of D.C. Unable to establish radio contact with this unidentified target in a post September 11 country that can no longer afford to leisurely ask questions first and shoot later, NORAD immediately scrambled two armed F-16s from the 113th Air National Guard squadron at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington.

We are told that as the jets investigated, the image faded from NORAD radar and the pilots returned to base after seeing nothing in the skies. However, as peculiar stories often tend to do, this one became increasingly mysterious.

WTOP-AM, an all-news radio station in D.C., began getting calls from listeners near Andrews AFB who were not only "shaken from their beds" as the jets took off in a hurry, but claimed to have seen either a bright blue or orange ball of light moving very fast while the jets screamed overhead in pursuit.

By the next morning, reporter Steve Vogel of The Washington Post had sorted out the facts and revealed a few surprises as well for the daily edition. He, like WTOP, spoke with witnesses and was given particularly to quote from one named Renny Rogers of the nearby Maryland suburb of Waldorf. Rogers, whom UFO (unidentified flying object) researchers later learned had actually run in and outside of his house twice as the jets were engaged in an apparent chase, described seeing a "light blue object traveling at a phenomenal rate of speed."

"This Air Force jet was right behind it, chasing it," he added, "but the object was just leaving him in the dust. I told my neighbor, 'I think those jets are chasing a UFO.'" Rogers had already insisted to a WTOP reporter that the object displayed no smoke or trail, no flashing lights, appeared smooth and seemed "eerily silent."

Maj. Douglas Martin of NORAD in Colorado, according to Vogel's report, stated that radar had detected "a track of interest," but fighter pilots observed nothing. "Everything was fine in the sky and they returned home," Martin advised. Maj. Barry Venable, another NORAD spokesman, bluntly told The Washington Post, "There are any number of scenarios, but we don't know what it was."

Other than the Post, media coverage of this incident, intriguing especially because of the official candor involved in even confirming publicly the presence of an unknown on radar that necessitated a military scramble, proved pathetically sparse and the incident received brief mention in a handful of cable news programs and newspapers before disappearing into accounts on various Internet sites.

Nevertheless, the fact that The Washington Post bothered to cover this story at all further authenticated its significance. Incredibly, just a few days before the scramble, WP reporter Peter Carlson had written an astonishingly open-minded look back 50 years ago, when Washington experienced well-documented instances of UFO activity, including reportedly solid radar returns and pursuing pilot visualization. UFO researchers, accustomed to decades of abundant UFO-ridiculing newspaper reports in the U.S., were taken aback that a major U.S. newspaper afforded the subject a thoughtful examination. This writer's brief query to Carlson revealed that his article did elicit a good response from readers.

In an intriguing footnote to Carlson's piece, the July 26 F-16 scramble coincided exactly 50 years to the day with July 26 of 1952, when a major multi-UFO event occurred over the Capitol.


There you have it, readers. Some Washington Post writers alert the public about UFOs, while others judge donuts. Still, I guess writing about refreshments at press club gatherings beats the approach taken by the perpetually snooty New York Times, which chose to offer nothing of substance whatsoever about Hastings' presentation. Maybe they were busy waiting for a bulletin-level pronouncement from SETI, where shocking are-we-alone? news happens all the time, and there's probably not a donut in sight.

BRING "BALLOON BOY" BACK: If some reports are correct about this incident ,all one has to do is release a few balloons in the skies over Manhattan, and the major TV networks and screen crawls lap up the ha-ha-not-really-UFOs feature story like kittens at a milk festival. But give 'em the real thing and they'll sooner do a piece on dust bunnies or Hollywood blah-blah-blah. Unfortunately, the usual suspects (debunkers) may well have a balloon field day with this possible non-event to arbitrarily explain away substantial UFO cases for weeks to come.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Screen vs. Sky

On September 27, my government again had an opportunity to step forward and do the right thing, and the right thing would involve a current high-ranking official representing the U.S. to come forward and say something, anything, to lend support to former military officers daring to tell us the truth at the Hastings/Salas National Press Club affair. Instead, we got stone-cold silence, an attitude firmly entrenched over the decades and always topped off with a disinformation "fact sheet" from the Air Force, a document which exists only because the Colorado UFO "study" fudged, ignored and lied as taxpayers' money was squandered unscientifically to bolster preconceived negative opinions.

Billy Cox (see link), having received for his collection yet another copy of a USAF UFO "fact sheet" denial growing mold since 1969, was informed by Vicki Stein of the Pentagon's Air Force press desk that "This is what our position is. And we're standing by it." Well, excuuuuuuuuuze me, Ms. Stein, but I'll continue to stand by the words of Al Chop, my favorite all-time Pentagon USAF press desk chief, whose 1953 letter on DOD letterhead (reprinted on this blog more than once, use the search engine above and type in Al Chop Henry Holt) essentially assured publisher Henry Holt and Co. that if the maneuvers reported by experienced personnel were correct, the only remaining explanation for UFOs was extraterrestrial intelligence (the "interplanetary answer").

Air Force and government denials at any level do not speak well for us as a free society. If the U.S. can't provide answers about the UFO subject, our government at least must have the integrity to stand behind and support its honorable former and current military personnel. Instead, over and again throughout the years we document accounts of service personnel who experience profound UFO-related events, and they are either warned never to speak of these incidents, or to sign oaths promising non-disclosure, or are intimidated into "believing" that nothing happened at all. Such threats can be most convincing -- but ultimately for what purpose? We must all thank and hold in the highest regard former military personnel who eventually feel they must come forward and display the temerity to tell the people the truth, at least as much of the truth as they know, about UFO events clearly unrelated to human technology or ability.

But -- now you puzzle over the pictures shown here today? Well, it's still October, Halloween month, and since the seriousness of the UFO issue continues to be characteristically superceded by things of lesser substance, why not join in?

I guess we all like a good science fiction movie, but always remember that, during the 1950s, where government sources couldn't make UFO inquiries go away, the motion picture industry could. The unfortunate melding of the UFO subject with the popular genre of science fiction on film was destined to create ridicule on the streets, less pressure on Congress to explore sightings in depth and the need for even more sci-fi and horror movies craved by the public. Invasion of the Saucermen and The Man From Planet X were two fifties favorites at the drive-in and, as you can imagine just from the publicity stills shown here, the atmosphere for sober attention to UFOs wasn't about to improve anytime soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Retrieving the Norm After the Storm

I like October. It's a month when people can at least pretend to be scared when All Hallows Eve rolls around. I think of Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker in October, too, and of a certain October years ago when UFO reports saturated the area where I live.

Folks rightly SHOULD HAVE been frightened last month, when Leslie Kean's astounding UFO book hit The Big Time, and the remarkable efforts of Robert Hastings and Robert Salas brought UFOs and military nuclear missile base involvement to the National Press Club. The excitement peaked and hit a few hopeful spots, but public interest now slides back to economics, politics and sports.

I can only speak for myself, but in another two years or so fifty years will have passed since I became aware of the UFO phenomenon. Even as a high school student, I wrote numerous letters to the editors of area newspapers, spoke publicly and went on radio talk shows (my appearances weren't exactly equivalent to an Edward R. Murrow broadcast, but the incredible Wendy Connors, now retired from UFO research and documentation efforts, converted my old audio tapes to digital format for her vast "Faded Discs" sound archives of olden days, and my squeaky teenage voice will live on in infamy -- or until Byte Monsters from a distant galaxy come to earth and eat everything preserved digitally).

There were lectures at the public school and university level. There was TV. There was a course taught at a college. There were national magazine articles written for small payments in return. There were rewards of public awareness, but there was also intense frustration and the spending of more money than I would ever recover just to keep the UFO evidence out where people could find it. But -- this was important.

And still we wait. For something to happen. Will it? Did it? Dunno. Far easier to go back to TV athletic events and forget the cares few care about anyway.

And monsters? Ha, we got-cher monsters right here. To many folks, UFOs and monsters are all the same, so what the heck? While other younger and/or more informed UFO researchers continue beating their heads against walls of lethargy, officialdom and increasing social dumb-nation, maybe I'll just feature monsters during October. After all, everybody loves monsters, particularly when they become profitable. UFOs? Not profitable. Stuffy science, and no stadiums or scoreboards necessary.

And speaking of frightening things, remember a couple entries ago when we mentioned the proposed NY mosque near Ground Zero? I forgot to warn you of one essential: Mummies.

I can almost guarantee it. If they build that mosque, we'll have worries far exceeding radical Islam, because it won't be two years after its grand opening before mummies will be walking the streets of New York and scaring the population to death, one by one (see photo for just one example of the horrors awaiting us). Now do you understand the implications?

Yes, I know, I know. UFOs have apparently compromised the world's nuclear missile sites, and the U.S. alone counts among its citizens honest active duty and former military personnel willing to risk their reputations and honor to tell a story that must not be dismissed -- but, hell, we have monsters and sports and Hollywood personalities and. . .

Hmm. Speaking of entertainment, what is it with these new TV shows? The Event drove me bonkers from episode #1 when the title character somehow managed to sneak a big ol' handgun onto a commercial flight, a flight watched over by an air marshal, no less. By episode #2, if other viewers weren't ready to pass out while trying to keep track of all the time regressions, I certainly was. And, wow, the visitors look just like us, even down to their winter clothing. I'm sure all of this could lamely be explained, eventually, but I won't be hovering around in anticipation, because I expect a brutal cancellation first.

Werewolves what about werewolves? Sick of 'em yet? ABC-TV's The Gates featured werewolves that look like. . .like wolves. Wait a minute, they ARE wolves, ordinary wolves! Did somebody forget to hire the special effects team? And Vampire Diaries? Vampire Dullaries, dude. As last season concluded, this poorly scripted, yet (not surprisingly) heavily viewed teen TV favorite promised werewolves. What did the CW network deliver? A werewolf that looks like a wolf because it IS a wolf, looking even more ridiculous because somebody obviously messed with its appearance digitally. Couldn't they have at least put a Lon Chaney, Jr. Wolfman mask on it?

Yes, that's entertainment, and cheap fictional thrills and athletic monotony will win out over disturbing UFO incidents in real life every time. Here, let me tell you about a baseball team of mummies playing opposite zombies to huge crowds in Brooklyn. . .