Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Big Orange vs. The Big Taboo

"Isn't life strange?

A turn of the page
can read like before.
Can we ask for more?"
-- The Moody Blues, "Isn't Life Strange?"

Oh, to be anyplace but New York right now. One would almost think the environs have been invaded by the ghosts of John Gacy, Jeff Dahmer and everybody's fave Texas sex fiend/torturer/murderer, the "candy man" himself, Dean Corll. I know I'm going to burn in hell for writing this, but the child sex abuse thing is kinda right in our faces at the moment (so to speak). Here we go again. Remember when this blog was just about UFOs?

So assistant Syracuse University basketball coach Bernie Fine is in trouble big (joke making the rounds: "I don't know about Bernie Fine, but those boys must have been burnin' fine!") and a cottage industry of people tripping over themselves and others to gain the public eye seems relentless. I don't have any particular love for The Big Orange, though I guess it's my public duty to admit that, yes, during my not-nearly-so-exciting life I completed three courses of study there (all with the grade of "A," natch' -- would you expect less?).

The child sex allegations -- maybe not so much allegations, now that an old tape of Fine's wife speaking with Boy Number One seems to have surfaced on the national level -- have fostered in Syracuse a finger-pointing fest rarely witnessed in the area previously. The Syracuse Police Dept. refused to release old records of its previous negative investigation of Fine to the county district attorney, who responded angrily in front of TV cameras by accusing the police chief of gross incompetency, unwilling even to keep up with the science behind DNA research and other areas pertaining to criminal investigations. Amazingly, the DA also singled out the police division for having something to do with the vandalizing of a DA office associate's car. Not to be outdone, the police chief ordered that any and all pages of police records requested by the DA's office would now cost 50 cents a page.

Then the REALLY crazy stuff happened, as the U.S. Secret Service invaded Fine's home and carted away file cabinets and other Things Of Interest. Suddenly, all the locals cooperated and the police chief released the old investigative files. Now, not content to leave the situation as nuts as it has become, the absolutely worthless U.S. Dept. of Education has entered the fray, investigating Syracuse U's innards, perhaps to appear relevant as well as overblown. Frankly, I'm not sure the ancient Syracuse infrastructure will be able to hold the anticipated crush of out-of-town media, Ph.D.'s, pomposity and child experts. Despite what you've read in the travel literature, let me tell you this in the words of the young, who have deserted this place in droves: This town blows. Some folk are frantically attempting to make it blow less, and it may eventually, but in the meantime. . .

And, oh yes, there was a second supposed victim, and now a fourth, and in between was a third -- a third whose father paints his son as a total and unapologetic liar who never met Fine alone at any time. The son retaliates in the press with accusations of his own about troubled relations with his father.

Those of us who picked up a few bucks writing over the years often encountered subjects we didn't really wish to bother with, sometimes because we know others will handle them better. Or maybe we just don't have enough information. Right now, I'm dependent upon news media stories from such sources as the Syracuse Post-Standard and Central NY TV and radio stations, and as a lowly blogger I certainly can't keep up with developments as they continue to crash earthward. The newspaper has come under fire because it held on to Mrs. Fine's secretly recorded (by Boy Number One) phone conversation tape for years, and some think they should have been turned over to the authorities long ago. I disagree. When the press and the cops become too cozy with one another, that's when we learn to fear, rather than respect, each. I prefer not to live with such apprehension.

Nevertheless, we now learn, in addition to those currently popular phone conversation tapes, that Bernie Fine's wife also may have had a sexual relationship with Boy Number One a few years after his athletic duties as a 12-13 year old, when he reached 17-18 years. Shock, horror! "Mrs. Robinson" for the junior set. And she also apparently confesses to knowing about her husband's relations with the boy. New stories circulating claim that Fine's wife had sexual contact with several (numerous?) S.U. basketball team players as a "rite of passage" in years past. I believe these assertions have been denied by the Fine family. What's truth, what's not? Hey, don't ask me.

Okay, there's no question that child sexual abuse exists, and the results can be horrible for a lifetime, particularly for girls, but no less for boys.

But there's that other side, disturbing to some, to those who bother to open their eyes and see. The problem is that the media would rather focus upon the horrors than other aspects. For instance, what to say about a university athletics dept. "ball boy" who was treated to trips around the country with a top team, enjoying the benefits along the way? It's interesting that a significant number of sexual abuse cases surface only after the good times and money disappear.

And it's fascinating how the number of abuse incidents have skyrocketed since the cottage industry of abuse "professionals" has proliferated throughout society, waving a magic wand and proclaiming all instances of sexual encounters based upon age discrepancies as abuse. Poof! You're abused, now go sue for the big money. It's always about the money, as it may ultimately be for Syracuse University. Sometimes, the "abused" come forward for reasons other than to warn potential victims. It's the economy, stupid. It's the money, stupid.

We demand victims, however defined. And some of those boys, already street-smart for their age, can be smart in other ways, in ways one anticipates only from adults. With the routine availability of texting, sexting, tweeting, image sharing and all sorts of digital opportunities, anything goes now.

There's a time in every young person's life known as coming of age. Strangely, one's personal sex equipment functions very early on, and telling young people that it's because "God is just tempting you" sounds about as crazy as pedophile priests insisting God told 'em to do it. Sex is a weird beast, yet it's the reason we are all here. Sometimes it's beautiful, sometimes it hurts and sometimes it ends in the murder of passion or the passion of murder. Sometimes it's a woman and a boy (the movie, "Private Lessons" certainly exemplified a boy's fantasy) Sometimes it's a man and a boy. Sometimes a woman and man share in the bounty. Sometimes a boy from a broken home meets a man who gives him a good life and an education, and the boy becomes a doctor, lawyer or embraces other professions -- and few would ever know. But the professional sex abuse prevention brigade is out there, keeping us safe from ourselves and presumed devils. As did The Inquisition.

So, The Sexperts increasingly invade our lives, often with religious influence, to establish an agenda of morality via legislation.. One size fits all. And if it's not The Sexperts it's the experts attempting to tame us in other ways -- the global warming crew, for example, who once again were embarrassed a few days ago, when even more old e-mails extolling their lies were released publicly by some renegade force.

As world economies plummet, with more and more young people prostituting themselves on the streets, just what do the sex police intend to offer as an alternative? Hope and change?

Allow me to wrap up some basic observations from the non-hysterical realm, regarding young and older male sexual relationships, without the perfect storybook distortions of which "normal" dreams are made:

Like it or not, since ancient times men have had their boys, and this apparently inherent human activity probably continues today in numbers to astound -- leading the rational mind to ask why. Does anybody really think that ships' captains of days gone by kept cabin boys around simply to act as servants? Military leaders were notorious for their boy attendants. In areas of Melanesia, as we mentioned a few blog entries ago, it is acceptable and encouraged for men to raise boys from ages 7-13 apart from their families, and in doing so to perform invasive sex acts upon them in the belief that it will make the boys better men. There's no prison industry to send the men away for years, and no legal system insistent upon taking away homes and money to provide "cures" and payoffs for attorneys and rats inhabiting a legal system gone wild.

In contrast, our growing child protective industry staffed by "professionals" from various fields continues to make the issue either black or white, excluding historically and socially relevant variations, while at the same time politicians lower than weasels continue to take advantage of the "child abuse" issue to win re-election based upon serving up even more redundant child legislation in a law book jungle already filled with it.

It's not uncommon knowledge that many women are aware if their husbands or boyfriends have boys on the side, and they tolerate, if not embrace the fact, because knowing it's a male and not another woman at least gives them a glimmer of comfort about maintaining their sometimes shaky relationships.

It is pathetic that athletics and every word mouthed by coaching personnel have a strong grip on the daily life-and-death activities of communities -- and, by the way, where would college and professional athletics be without homosexuality at all levels and ages? Remember football star David Kopay? How about Olympics activities, when condoms are requested in quantity, especially among young gay men? Let's not be stupid about the way things have always been. Feel-good attempts to change the leopard's spots through extended bureaucracy, hearsay, public humiliation, arrests, incarceration and additional child legislation will just drive an already clueless, hyper-vigilant, anxiety-ridden society to wolf down even more antidepressant medications, as it begs for increased government surveillance and spending to save us from the inescapable. The things going on are not new, but panic has set in.

When is it child abuse and when is it not? To paraphrase sexual philosopher Bill Clinton, it depends upon the meaning of what is is.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Steve Jobs and the Others

He ranks among the most ingenious inventors of the century, and nobody can disparage the contributions of Steve Jobs (and others of his discipline). Yes, think of what the personal computer has done for us.

Now, think of what the computer has done to us, for the future reeks of cyber-instability.

Governments can track our every move, and so perhaps can your employer. Computer portability deprives us of sleep and assures longer hours working away from the office. Power grids, nuclear power plants, public water authorities, the military and law enforcement personnel -- all apparently susceptible to computer hacking -- are as dependent upon the chip as a baby on the bottle. Does anybody doubt that malicious hackers will always be with us?

The computer is helping China and other nations achieve a dangerous level of power. The computer has assisted criminals in running the U.S. economy into near-bankruptcy at lightning speed.

Young schoolchildren and college students are ruled by the computer, enslaved by its charms, depriving them of socialization and sometimes any emotional contact with reality. Just look at the mental health statistics and medical professionals' need to drug suicidal computer users with medications which, strangely, further their risk of taking their own lives. I think Big Pharma loves computers. I think Big Anything embraces computers to use them against us in some way.

What to do when the sun finally emits that one gigantic burst of energy -- perhaps followed directly by another -- that heads toward Earth and destroys every satellite in orbit? What happens when a rogue country or power at last gets around to launching a few level E1 or roughly equivalent electromagnetic pulsation devices, deadly to every improperly shielded thing running on chips (instant trash beyond repair)?*** Imagine the panic engulfing young people who lack access to computer technology, unable to solve even simple problems as they lack even the basics of common sense and old-fashioned problem-solving methods. Public services may well be replaced by chaos. Predictions that successful deployment of EMP weapons could hurl modern societies back into the 18th century must not be taken lightly.

Perhaps a tiny preview of the future materialized last March, when an American military plane experienced a GPS-disabling electronic attack from North Korea during air warfare exercises.

Computer technology is not an episode of "Star Trek," where advanced gadgetry routinely saves the universe. All is not guaranteed to end well with reliance on computer technology. While we can thank Mr. Jobs for his brilliance and miss his presence, let's not be so sure that such profound technological and corporate acumen hasn't fundamentally, indeed ultimately weakened and doomed us amongst our own robust feelings of strength and accomplishment. Facebook, Zuckerberg, Google, Jobs, Gates and other corporations and names of worship descend upon us. I'm nobody's expert, but I'm wondering if we'll eventually find neither freedom nor salvation in the chip. And who knows, something better may come along to scrap and eclipse the entire computer industry one day, making it as irrelevant as 8-track tape cartridges (though my remaining token 8-track from Radio Shack still works, I confess). In the future, will honored giants of the computer industry be regarded as god-like wizards -- or as just some guys who invented something that was fun and helpful for a while, but didn't quite work out the way folks expected?

*** After I wrote this, the Fox-TV series, "Terra Nova" happened to feature a story depicting widespread computer chip destruction due to electromagnetic effects caused by a falling meteorite -- and all damages were repaired quickly, just in time for the end of the show. Unfortunately, real-life EM devastation would be far worse and not so easily overcome, depending upon the strength and altitude of the offending precipitant. Speaking of "Terra Nova," this series really needs something. I guess the actors are okay, but the storyline and weekly script-writing suffer tremendously. The Guesswhatkindasauruses and the Imgonnachewoffyourlegasauruses are realistic enough, but the "Sixers" add little but a diversion from things that we already badly require diversion from. Now, if the "Sixers" were something like the mutant psycho humans created secondary to a plague in the old movie, "The Omega Man," they might have something besides expensive weekly kiddie fluff and painfully contrived dialogue to show for their efforts. And how is it that the commander's son has managed to live five years outside the gates, hiding out on his own? Seems as though somewhere along the way he would have been eaten by a Gotchagonnadevouryourassasaurus. Calling Godzilla! Where's Godzilla when you need him? Or Billy Mumy? I'd even settle for the "Lost in Space" robot from the TV series over this mess. Or maybe they just need (sigh...) a vampire, like everybody else.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Be True to Your School

Thanksgiving week always brings Thanksgiving memories to some. I can't help much with that tradition, but in honor of all the weird stuff going on with Penn State, Syracuse and other universities, I thought a little sports story might be in order. Yeah, I hate what sports have become, but that's okay. Unfortunately, as many of you know, there have been some real tragedies on the playing -- mostly football -- field at high school and college levels, sometimes ending in death. Yes, occasionally athletes, sports "heroes," die doing what they love most, and society embraces them as the gods many believe them to be. But who cares about the intellectually gifted students? Kids, if you're exceptionally brainy, sports-teamless and feel as loved as a pile of dog poop in your school, this touching story is for you. . .and happy Thanksgiving to all. . .

Though only 16, Jasper's brilliance for science was recognized throughout the high school, but his fellow students looked upon him merely as a curiosity.

However, one day during a science lab session, Jasper discovered astonishing new methods to interpret the mysteries of both celestial mechanics and quantum physics. In fact, he may have stumbled upon the key to the UFO phenomenon's identity, leading his overjoyed science teacher to proclaim him a true intellectual "phenom" -- or at least a phenom problem solver.

Unfortunately, upon exiting the classroom Jasper slipped on a banana peel discarded by a football player and hit his head on the floor, dying instantly, even though the banana from whence it came had been grown organically. Yes, even green can kill. Along with Jasper's passing went his intricate mental scientific calculations, not yet entered into the computer, and now lost forever.

The student body, frankly, wasn't too distraught because nobody really hung out with Jasper, but they visited school "grief counselors" anyway, and the sessions did provide a way to cut classes. The grief counselors were looked upon as comparable to gods or psychic brain surgeons because their talents involved helping girls cry and psychologically draining boys of whatever testosterone society hasn't already confiscated. The grief counselors were obviously special, for they had grazed professionally among the folk who successfully embraced and fine-tuned the Sybil / multiple personality scam for decades and became fabulously wealthy by manipulating unaware patients into becoming even more screwed up than they were to begin with. Grief counselors were almost magical, for they could provide most of the counseling that now-useless parents used to be responsible for.

Peculiarly, local media, which characteristically reported about high school athlete deaths for weeks, seemingly endlessly, barely mentioned Jasper's demise. After all, he could offer the world only genius, and had played no sports.

When the day arrived for calling hours, school staff scraped together -- with tremendous effort -- a small gaggle of students to venture into the funeral home. The grief counselors had to tell them what to say to grieving family members because students were clueless when it came to using powers of speech, and parents who had long ago relegated the teaching of common sense to counselors weren't much help in that respect, either.. "Can't we just text his family?" texted one student to, and in the presence of, a grief counselor, without speaking a word.

Still, only eight classmates showed up for calling hours. Most spoke so softly or inarticulately that Jasper's parents could barely understand them. At the end of this very short receiving line stood two school jocks, the only members of the athletic section present, and as they approached Jasper's parents each struggled for the right words to say, even though grief counselors had written them down on shreds of computer paper. One jock pulled a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket and stared at it intently as he read the words to Jasper's parents. "I'm sorry," he said, repeating the note verbatim.

The other athlete, now standing alone as his friend made a hasty exit, unable to find his own grief counselor-inspired message among his pockets, yet confident of his feelings, went ad lib: "Um, yeah, I'm sorry your kid couldn't measure up to be part of our team."

With that, noting Jasper's parents had suddenly frozen where they stood, jock number two rushed for the exit, immensely proud of himself for surely expressing what the whole school must have thought about Jasper, the distant non-athlete whose superior intellect had been as welcome as leprosy. Popularity meant everything, and if Jasper couldn't understand the importance of fighting over the transportation of a ball from here to there on a school playing field, of what use was he?

The next day, things returned to normal at school as cheerleaders cheered hypnotically, colorfully-attired jocks thrilled bleachers replete with fans, and brainy, inquisitive kids who wanted only to learn in a classroom devoid of athletic arrogance and playing-field overkill sat at their desks in silence, feeling like freaks. They knew only too well that if any among them slipped on the next banana peel, organically grown or not, and died without wearing that special high school letter or number, they would never, ever be accepted into the afterlife and, worse, the media would ignore their intellectual legacy, and instead rush off to another high school or college locker room to honor the sweaty practitioners of overblown, ever-fading accomplishments.

On the bright side, however, the smart classroom students remembered reading in recent scientific literature that bananas -- hence banana peels -- may disappear from the face of the earth someday.

Clearly, all they had to do was wait for their moment of safe passage.

(The end, uh-huh)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yes, We Have No Petitions

I confess to having signed a reveal-the-truth-about-UFOs petition or two in recent years, but I'm not likely to do so again anytime soon. Not trying here to sound like a TV psychic, but I expected nothing less from The White House this month than for its public info handlers to go running, not to extensively documented sources indicating that somebody else from somewhere else seems to be flitting around and influencing us in some strange way, but to a preamble from the Condon report or to faded, dog-eared print-outs from Air Force "fact sheets" of the eighties. Wherever the Obama folk went for their dismissal, you can bet that they just wanted this bugaboo out of the way in order to concentrate on all the other things that won't get done right.

As they say on the streets, word to your mother: I know how this works. For decades I wrote presidents and members of Congress about the matter of UFOs. The official brush-off is so polished and so repetitive and so kindly put that inquiring minds, once dismissed with literate gibberish, may feel blessed just to have received a response. Yes, form letters can be hypnotic. Wow, lucky me, a letter addressed to me from higher up, and it says. . .oh. . .well, at least they answered. . .

While so many writers and researchers, including me, have been wrapped up in fits over Dr. Ed Condon's Colorado report on UFOs -- which obviously raised more questions than it answered -- my kick in the pants occurred years before its release. In 1964, the same year I joined the (gone) National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, NICAP released its exhaustively documented report, "The UFO Evidence," and a copy (free complete download available at, as intended, was given to each and every member of Congress. Additionally, this was truly the year of the UFO, as reliable and dramatic UFO reports began showing up all over the world in a wave even before the report's release.

Encouraging responses from Congressional offices were polite, but nowhere near what NICAP's Donald Keyhoe, Richard Hall or other key participants envisioned. Supportive newspaper articles and media talk shows kept the subject in the limelight for a bit, but the glow of positive publicity dimmed quicker than a campfire doused by a summer thunderstorm. Instead, as time went by, negative Air Force statements gained some prominence, seemingly popping into view whenever UFO activity received public notice. An episode of ABC-TV's "Les Crane Show" (see my earlier series of blog entries re this program) became a UFO ridicule fest that fit right in with uninformed conjecture about the UFO phenomenon sweeping the nation, thanks in no small part to debunkers and the wide media reach of government denials.

So I ask -- if thick, extraordinarily documented reports about UFO activity given to every member of Congress were politely received and then tossed aside for the most part in 1964, just what did we anticipate from current petitions sent to The White House? What if the best we can ever expect in return is another Condon/Colorado style "study," next time worse than the last? You know, to get us off everybody's back, easily accomplished with another measly $300,000 of government funding -- just enough to make the shadows go away.

Me, I think the answer to taking action regarding the truth still lies in Congress, but I'll be darned if I know how to make people of generally conventional thinking delve into the seemingly unconventional, even when astounding evidence overtly (and apparently quite covertly) abounds. Unfortunately, the viability of most issues becomes dependent upon the enhancement of one's chances for re-election, and UFO evidence has never created the winning ticket.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Penn State, the State Pen and a Political Penchant

If you thought the child sexual abuse allegations flowing out of Penn State were beyond comprehension, you ain't seen nothin' yet. The thing to keep in mind right up front is that 2012 is a major year for political elections.

Convincing government representatives to face the UFO issue head-on seems all but impossible, but you put an issue out there with the word child in it, and legislators at all levels of government become instant champions and prostitutes, writing and selling their new, individually-crafted child protection legislation, all prettied and perfumed up, in exchange for votes. Watch the news programs -- it's already happening at several levels. But it's not about the children, it's all about the money. When has it not been about the money? Money leads to power and power to money.

I'm willing to suggest, in a nation already rife with enough criminal law to deal with pedophiles a hundred times over, that most child protection laws were proposed and passed by whoring lawmakers who knew only too well that anytime you can couple even a hint of child welfare legislation with the if-we-can-save-just-one attitude, applause, kudos and votes, votes, votes and increased power over the people will magically appear. Trouble is, once we start piling similar laws upon more similar laws, the thumbscrews already applied to adults, children who will become adults one day and, indeed, all of society are turned even tighter. In the bigger picture, a plethora of legislation of any kind destroys society's fabric with resultant regimentation and fear.

I'm trying to keep a calm and rational mind here, but if you've read my previous stuff you know that doesn't always go so well for me.

So we already have child protective laws out there -- so many, in fact, that if you're an adult and don't fear the power of neighborhood youth and their litigious parents, you're not looking at the new world. And it doesn't matter whether you have your own family.

There are times I've thought of applying for substitute teacher positions at public schools, but then current observations creep in, casting that idea to the wind. How would it go in the classroom for me? Well, let's see. . .

What if I'm in a classroom and happen to say something "offensive," causing a student to go running home to tell an already hysterical parent about the episode? What happens if neurotic little Cathy or Caleb, already high on medications prescribed by the school psychiatrist, misinterprets a facial expression I toss their way? Or, arghhhhhhh! What if I accidentally brush by or touch a student in a crowded hallway and the child just happens to be cleverly psycho and all-knowing about causing tons of trouble for teachers he or she doesn't particularly like?

And here we go. . .based on merely the whisper of an accusation, The Authorities -- a growing and I believe quite comfy cottage industry of public-payroll child welfare agents, sex police, attorneys representing all sides, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and even the pharmaceutical representatives -- jump into a fetid mix they construct themselves, and before I know it I'll be poked and prodded and questioned and interrogated and damned-near water-boarded while investigators explore my trash, my files, my computer, creditors, bodily fluids, potential gallstones, kidney stones, dust bunnies under the bed and the interior of my vehicle. Then they interrogate my friends, family members (probably both living and dead -- they have their ways), current pets and the beasts in the field.

When all is said and done to death -- even though I'm innocent of all charges -- I'm marked, branded for all time somewhere in somebody's paperwork or computerized notations. Innocence doesn't matter -- the investigation matters. The tiniest appearance of impropriety matters. The money matters, the big money matters. Power over us matters.

When there is a sexual crime, obviously a horror story in itself, when does the investigative industry become as bad or worse than the action in question? I'm still trying to get my hands around Homeland Security going after international child pornography rings, when I reasonably expected the agency was formed to protect us from terrorists, and had plenty of work to do in that area.

Or, as Hitler's Gestapo was fond of telling people before searching homes against their will, "If you haven't done anything wrong, you shouldn't object to our coming in and having a look." Aren't we already there? Guilty until proven innocent. Guilty after proven innocent. Remember the McMartin Preschool sex abuse furor a few years ago over, ultimately -- nothing? Lives ruined.

So the public agonizes over Penn State and The Very Idea of what transpires every day in the country, in the world, and even as I write this I can put my ear to the ground and hear the distant tapping of screenwriters creating scripts for the certain-to-be motion pictures and TV episodes. And legislators are busily tapping out new child laws. That's what they do. It's the money, stupid.

As usual, once the legal system dispenses with the actions of a Penn State coach, the cure will be money. Money for the victims, money for the lawyers, money for the psychiatric industry. Yes, money, the curative herb for all ills. "Damages," it's called. Funny how permanently damaged people can so often be fixed and healed with money.

One interesting aspect of the Penn State cacophony is the way so many other lives will be destroyed by the actions of one man, the perpetrator. Everybody's guilty. What now? See something, say something? Really? Or just shut up because the official investigative scalpel will destroy you, too? You can't win. It's a veritable domino effect.

During the years I served in Air Force hospitals, I cared for more children than I can remember, dependents of active duty personnel, and I prefer to think I did a lot of good things. In fact, over on my Air Force blog I posted a letter of gratitude our clinic received from a teenage girl. Those were less complicated times in the sixties and seventies. When I operated my own clinic for a time, I treated lots of women and children -- in various stages of undress -- at the end of a long hallway in rooms where I had no female chaperones. Nobody at all. Today? May as well play Russian roulette if somebody isn't witnessing your every move, for legal reasons.

But it's 2011. I feel uncomfortable even walking on the same side of the street as a child. I doubt that I would tie a kid's shoelace or even say hi. You can look into a parent's eyes and often see the apprehension, the suspicion of potential "danger stranger." So I stay uninvolved, I must. Can't put a band-aid on a cut. Can't give directions. Can't warn children of problems. No way can I teach other people's kids anything or try to impart common sense. Would I even call 9-1-1 in a child emergency, or just run home and cut up my shoes so even footprints can't be traced to me? Everybody is a suspect, all must be punished purely for being there, somewhere, anywhere.

Parents and society's professional manipulators blaze hysterical now, bonkers-grade adults at the ready to call authorities for any reason whatsoever at the drop of a hat. No longer is there an expectation that children, like adults, must share in that life thing called risk, and in the process the children become wussies and little more than electronic device-motivated zombies. Forget the sex part, there's worse going on out there. There's destruction of the top and the decay can't help but progress on down to the bottom.

But some wonder -- how is it that men experience sexual relations with children? Where does this come from?

Well, here's the pièce de résistance, though in no way am I writing this to condone what happened in the showers of Penn State: Years ago, when I wrote occasional articles and book reviews for a newspaper, I was assigned (and reviewed) a superb, highly-recommended book entitled, The Spirit and the Flesh, by Walter L. Williams (1986). Dealing primarily with Native American cultures which look upon gender and sex far differently than the rest of Western civilization -- for which they were often destroyed, usually by, um, good Christians -- Williams also explores other parts of the world which see things differently.

(Okay, readers, this is the WARNING! part where you stop reading, unless you can handle the truth. Can't pretty this part up very much, sorry.)

Specifically, Williams references parts of Melanesia, singling out portions of New Guinea and nearby islands, where it is believed that both human breast milk and semen are important for a boy's growth into manhood. I'll spare my readers the details, but as things generally go, the male child between ages seven and thirteen is raised by an older man, generally the wife's brother, who takes him for several months or several years. During this period, the boy is routinely administered semen through active oral and anal sex, or by a "rubdown" -- and this assures his growth into manhood. Period. There is apparently historical and, arguably, biological precedent for such behavior. Is this an innate practice among humans? Since we humans just love looking up our roots and ancient origins from which we developed, try those humble Melanesia beginnings on for size, where apparently the word predator didn't make it into their child-raising vocabulary.

The Penn State shower incidents, it seems, wouldn't cause a batted eyelash in some cultures -- places which nurtured and evolved long before we. Our justice system works well when it works, but it's about to go nuts now as potential legislative stars struggle to be reborn squeaky-clean and noticed across the land. This society simply wouldn't have it any other way, and its yearning minions will always have one hell of a good dysfunctional time trying to legislate morality. The money. The power. The university endowments. The money. The. . .children? What children? Anybody say something about children?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Andy Rooney's Joke and Arthur Godfrey's UFO

When the late "Sixty Minutes" (CBS-TV) favorite Andy Rooney (1919-2011) retired a few weeks ago, and again following his death last week, abundant mention was made of his position as a writer on Arthur Godfrey's television show in the fifties. In fact, an archived film clip of Godfrey is shown where he dryly reads a joke Rooney wrote, the setup question being, what do people on other planets eat? Answer: Venus schnitzel. Hmm.

Godfrey was portrayed as a "nasty" man off camera and sans microphone. But to my parents and grandparents (and especially to one great-aunt) he was funny, personable -- and actually hosted one of the most popular daytime shows on TV. Well, until he got into a snit one day in 1953 and fired singer Julius LaRosa on-air for all to see. That's when Godfrey realized the women in his wide TV audience madly loved LaRosa, a TV tube heartthrob of the era, and thus began Godfrey's steady ratings decline until he all but disappeared from TV. Yep, a nasty man. Kinda cheapens an old 78 r.p.m. record by Godfrey we had around the house as I was growing up. One side was his narration with music of "What is a Girl?" and the opposite side, "What is a Boy?" Of course, those cutesy/syrupy songs were recorded long before everything depended upon what the meaning of is was.

Godfrey, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve who had piloted USAF, Navy and private planes extensively, later hosted a radio show, and one day during June of 1965 Godfrey amazed his listeners with an announcement that he had experienced a dramatic UFO encounter sometime in years past. Prior to this, he had told nobody.

The incident occurred during an evening flight from NY to Washington, D.C. and accompanying Godfrey was his co-pilot, Frank Munciello. Near Philadelphia a "brilliantly lighted object" suddenly appeared near the right wing, forcing Godfrey to quickly bank left in an evasive maneuver. The FAA tower in Philadelphia reported no air traffic nearby, but Godfrey responded, "Well, there's darned well something up here."

The object soon reversed course, circled hastily around the plane and appeared off the left wing. Godfrey made a sharp turn, but the UFO followed his desperate move, and it copied every succeeding maneuver in unison. "It stayed there on the left wing, no matter what I did," Godfrey stated, admitting that he and his co-pilot were frightened.

Finally, the object took off and disappeared into the night, no doubt leaving Godfrey and his co-pilot longing for a really, really funny Venus schnitzel joke.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Radio Killed the Radio Star/Blackouts/7 Billion Served

RADIO KILLED THE RADIO STAR: A few years ago on this blog, in a two-parter, I wrote about Jim Reith, whom for years had his own show on WSYR Radio (Syracuse, NY), a member of the Clear Channel Communications network. I won't belabor the details, which you may look up on the search engine above, but based upon correspondence I sent him regarding UFO documentation, he took multiple opportunities during one three-hour afternoon program (also available widely via the Internet) to snipe at me by name. I was not present. Skepticism would have been fine, but he went one step further and kept referring to me using obvious derogatory terms depicting me as crazy or deluded. Remember, all of this was based only upon correspondence I sent to him, respectful and informative. He never apologized, because he wasn't sorry.

Even prior to that day, in my opinion, his was among the worst radio talks show ever in Central NY. Yes, he leaned heavily upon guests affiliated with local public service agencies, religious institutions and educational, political, public safety and business entities. But he also excluded and dismissed chances to interview guests "on the fringe," and in so doing deprived listeners of the opportunity to learn about things they might otherwise not know about. Reith is very religious, by his own admission, and it was apparent that he refused to explore subjects and guests that might conflict with some religious teachings (however, I chuckled when he recently played an artist's music on his show and the selection, to his surprise, had the "F" word in it which clearly made it out over the air because he didn't reach the "kill" button in time).

Despite Reith's dedicated community good-deed efforts, he also built and put the shingles on one of the most boring, lackluster radio programs I've ever heard. Others will obviously disagree. Yet, of course, it was his show, and he could feature whatever guests he wished, or not. More's the pity, for the WSYR broadcast pie sacrificed a lot of informative and entertaining slices, sometimes suggesting an obvious courtesy to the faithful (say what you want about "psychics," but that subject ultimately became taboo locally, even though listeners swarmed the telephone lines -- if WSYR was lacking for sponsors in any way, excluding hot fringe topics certainly wouldn't attract more advertisers).

As time went on, callers became the same old familiar voices -- his political friends, his golfing friends, this friend, that friend, etc. -- and when even a particular sponsor calls in frequently, enough to make listeners roll their eyes and think of the words, bought and paid for, well, what do you have? The show, long ago expanded to four hours, was important for dragging in listeners during "drive time" from work, and what typically could be one subject for the entire four hours would be explored over and over again until inflicting near-brain death upon listeners. If Reith, dependent upon news sources outside of Clear Channel for much of his subject matter, did not like opinions posted by others who didn't leave names with their comments, they were "anonymous Internet morons." There was little room for anybody but Jim Reith and his narrow scope -- and now, evidently, there's no room for Reith, either.

Nobody worthy should lose their job, but darned if the Clear Channel politburo didn't dispense with Reith and three other Syracuse employees (including Reith's former producer) a few days ago. There was apparently no warning -- the Reith show was gone by October 26, having been aired routinely the day before, and since then I have not heard one current on-air employee dare mention the mass-terminations. Clear Channel nationally, like many broadcast entities, has financial problems, and I'm sure every employee is in fear for his or her job, as layoffs and firings continue to occur across the nation.

Years ago, Clear Channel had purchased five or six Syracuse radio stations, and a TV station for a while after that, and CCC is known for buying up poorly performing or inexpensive broadcast property all over the country. Trouble is, the economy went south and all of that extravagant spending came home to roost. In the meantime, Clear Channel went for talk shows like ducks take to water, and on local levels nationally it appeared that everybody and his brother or sister associated with broadcasting thought they could host a show -- or at least station managers, program directors or advertising heads thought that would be the case. And it was, until now. And in both the good times and as the economy kept tanking, stations clung to the familiar and eschewed the uncertainty of true innovation -- pretty much reflecting the way Washington currently functions.

A major reason for the Reith show's very existence was obviously to praise and talk up Central New York on behalf of the business community, a blatant chamber of commerce of the airwaves, far more infomercial than talk show. Frankly, the program could have been so much more, but it wished to appeal to a certain local segment and that's exactly what WSYR got, leaving so many potential listeners who craved a real talk show out in the cold. This was the fatal flaw, and they can point to their declining ratings until the cash cows come home, but with the show gone the words, that-show-really-sucked should be engraved above the station's offices.

So the Reith show held on for some 11 years, odorless, yet stinking up the town via powerful radio signals, its content akin to old fish wrapped in unyielding commercial breaks, intended, near as I can figure, to keep listeners hooked more for the advertising than for the knowledge imparted. He had his fans and he had his detractors, plenty of both. If certain callers or e-mails cast doubt upon local plans for mega-developments, he blamed established residents for their lack of insight about the future. They were idiots. They were morons. In more recent times, he might instead use the term, "geniuses." Though he claimed he didn't hang up on callers, he surely tended to cut them off if they wished to argue a point much of the time. In fact, he once remarked that he did not intend to argue with callers, and on one occasion I heard him remind one and all as he experienced a snit that the program was called "The Jim Reith Show" and if he did not want to accept phone calls, that was his decision. So, the scenario would generally be a caller making a point, Reith thanking them, gently ending the call and then establishing his opinion as the last word. With the caller gone, what more could be said? Yet, the sponsors flowed in, supporting the show, probably not because of content, but because WSYR-AM provided awesome broadcast tower power, featuring the strongest and most easily accessed AM radio station in town. In fact, WSYR even went to the FM band simultaneously and listeners consequently received double the Reith show and several times the sound quality during Yankee games, when players on the field presumably could spit out their chewing tobacco in living stereo if offered microphone coverage. I continue to contend that WSYR Radio could simply play the sounds of dog farts all day long and ratings would soar because the station signal is strong and easy to tune in -- and sponsors would support the effort tremendously because of the widespread airplay reach available.

Yet -- the Reith show has disappeared, and one might only conclude that the advertising revenue and/or significant audience had absconded, no longer able to act as a crutch to prop up a pathetic program which would have been canceled years ago if not for the fact that WSYR wielded the most powerful and far-reaching transmitter in town -- and obviously Reith had his connections as a local news reporter, whatever or whomever they were, to give him a several-hour format in the first place. Maybe it just seemed a good idea at the time. One can grow a "Chia Pet" anywhere.

I once wrote in this blog that I hoped one day to see the Reith show disappear, replaced perhaps by the sound of frogs croaking or chirping. Unfortunately, frog time was instantly usurped by more national radio talk. In the meantime, Those Layoffs or Firings Or Whatever They Were are not mentioned, not a word, by on-air personnel, as if they never happened -- as if neither Reith nor his show ever existed. The Clear Channel Communications central politburo and its useful local reps in upper management have seemingly erased his name from existence. Too bad, since Reith accumulated almost 30 respectable years in local broadcasting, much of it as a newscaster, winning an award or two. But life goes on and a pungent scent of fear must permeate over the Syracuse Clear Channel Communications staff, as well it should. In Russia, don't they use polonium to obliterate memory lane?

Shed no tears for Reith, he'll do just fine. Over the years he obviously established numerous contacts and probably had job offers before or soon after the door slammed. In this area, I wouldn't be surprised to see his show return to WSYR if the winds of change alter direction, as local broadcast management continues to perform the same actions over and over. Still, it is tragic that CCC rids itself of long-time employees barely without warning -- maybe Clear Channel's highest echelon frets over the potential sound of frogs croaking near every transmitter in the country.

The best role CCC could assume is to help its national audience and Congress understand that FCC powers should be curbed dramatically so we can send these word/morals police back to their original intended job -- to regulate airwave assignments. Maybe then radio can blossom into an entity that need not fear "naughty" words and pictures, thus leaving the audience to make a personal decision to stay tuned or not. "Politically correct" has turned us timid, voiceless and fearful of new thoughts.

I hope Central NY radio develops other local talk shows, with the right hosts. But the way this town works, a town whose broadcast community is like family, to the exclusion of innovation, as aging broadcast industry members hang on almost until becoming petrified or mummy-like and dripping dust, Reith may just pop up hosting something else, and whatever local broadcast mummified entity introduces him will tell listeners how great it will be to have this "new" show in town. And no, UFOs and Fortean subjects will not be welcome for sober discussion.

My advice, wherever you reside in the country, whatever radio station you access:: Tune in -- and tune out if necessary. If (when) the Internet kills off radio, that will only happen because the lords of radio allowed and blindly encouraged the action.

AND SPEAKING OF CONTROLLING THE AIRWAVES . . . We are told that at 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 9th, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission intend to conduct for the first time ever a national test of the Emergency Alert System, and all radio and televised broadcasts across the USA will be disrupted for about 3 1/2 minutes. While all manner of commentary can be whipped up about this maneuver, I only wish to thank FEMA and the FCC for scheduling this event on November 9, to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the great Northeastern U.S. power blackout. Well, okay, maybe it wasn't intentional -- but it sure is funny that a broadcast blackout would be arranged on the same day of the year as a major power blackout in which UFOs were observed by many witnesses of credible caliber -- a situation so mysterious that even the late Dr. James McDonald testified before Congress about the widespread power failure's UFO aspect.

SEVEN BILLION SERVED. . .Estimates of world human population reaching seven billion this week are not comforting, particularly when another billion will appear in just another 10-13 years. National news sources seem to enjoy pointing out that all of those people would easily fit inside Texas -- ignoring that each person will require considerable acreage just to sustain them during their lifetime. Once the government, religious, technological, medical and pharmaceutical establishments figure out how to encourage even more human birth, save every hapless womb occupant and force adults to live to 125, even as nature's resources dwindle and become fouled by all the extra consumers, and even as we systematically destroy a wealth of other species on a planet supposedly shared roughly in some balance, life will really be great, huh? I know what we are, and maybe you know what we are. Be very, very frightened of the future, or laugh if it up if it will make you feel better. I just love the smell of alleged paranoia in the morning. Et vous?