Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Narcotic sleep aids are okay, I guess, but I prefer just turning on the television and waiting a few minutes for the inevitable drift-off. My favorite shows (I won't disclose their identities), of which there are very few, have dropped off one by one, but that's an advantage because I've less opportunity to be swept up by "news" shows that depend upon TV dramas to lead viewers into the sheep herd.
Nevertheless, one night this week I did wake up long enough to flip channels and stumble upon some PBS program concentrating upon the disappearance of veteran journalists. I perked up, knowing that, at least for the next several minutes, TV wouldn't lie or bedazzle me with meaningless glitter. Some members of the press interviewed, in fact, used to be reporters for my local TV stations, good ones, too, until the way-higher-up corporate mindset chose glamour and tinsel over hard news, and exemplary services were no longer required.
Instead, all over the country, the older men and women, veteran TV journalists with experience no modern journalism school can impart, began losing their jobs or, sensing the writing on the wall, leaving them, as lawyers and the big money crowd bought in and moved in with nothing on their minds except turning a profit. Nothing wrong with that, but solid investigative reporting was often sacrificed for fluff and "news" that isn't. As one former TV reporter put it, the trend was toward news directors who were also financial managers, thus assuring that news program viewers got what kept them glued to the screen via titillation and shiny objects, rather than the facts they desperately should have received through courageous and truly informative reporting.
And, as never before, extraordinary efforts were directed toward never reporting on anything offensive to sponsors or investors.
I don't mean to condemn TV alone, as many factors come into play, but the "bottom line" concerns have done more to transform the TV news business into entertainment-like pap in recent years than anything. Newspapers, of course, also faced with plummeting circulation in the face of the Internet, shorter attention spans, rising costs and, frankly, a declining population of newsprint readers, dwell in a similar boat, and a tragic case may be made that the newspaper business spawned the best journalists of all time.
No matter. Much of what passes as journalism now depends merely upon stories fed to media outlets by corporate public relations departments, and as TV stations hire very young people just out of college, lacking experience but looking sensational and well-tanned on the screen, the trend veers away from hardcore investigations and toward spot news pieces buffered by fluff 'n stuff.
Don't expect anything better from TV network level mindsets than from local affiliates. ABC + Disney = the news? Really? The White House + its own news section = the pure facts? Really?
By the way, how are those UFO petitions to the White House going for ya? Worth a TV hour? Maybe ABC-TV or NBC-TV will honor us with another nonsensical UFO "special" someday soon, or CBS-TV could just dust off that sixties Walter Cronkite extravaganza, "UFO: Friend, Foe or Fantasy" for prime time laughs and "truth in reporting."
Meanwhile, back at the digital TV news photography ranch, national cameras were herded to a small town in Ohio to waste time and coagulate upon yet another teen-on-teen gunshot tragedy, as Hollywood script writers say hmm, maybe we could write a . . .as Iran looms threateningly and official Washington burns hot with corruption or freezes with complacency .
Anyway, while we may find it difficult to discern TV news from entertainment, we still have the Academy Awards, and again I'll say thanks for nothing to its organizers, consistently making no provisions in any way to thank members of the U.S. Armed Forces, whose hazardous duties assure to the best of their abilities that artists all over the world can create magnificent visions in safety and peace. Maybe next year.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
No specific theme today, just a few fragments to address. . .
Last week I was almost in scream mode while watching ABC-TV's and other news presentations, when the proliferation of drone aircraft seemed high on inquiring minds. So I'm viewing the usual mainstream media pap, and then they start interviewing people in the airline industry who express concern about the increasing use of drones in congested air space, worried about the potential for deadly collisions.
And the wheels in my head start -- you know, I've always heard about the wheels in our heads, yet never found these in medical textbook illustrations, despite my efforts -- spinning and I almost shout out loud, HEY! HEY! Where are you people when commercial airliners encounter UFOs that damned nearly rock your boat? Where are you airline company representatives when passengers are flung out of their seats because unidentified airborne objects of terror cause frightened pilots to take violently evasive actions? Whose side are airline officials on when their pilots want to tell the media and the world about close encounters in the skies with things that clearly are not drones? Now you worry about drones, when there's so very much more about which to fret? You folks dare to concentrate on drones, when organizations such as NARCAP and NICAP document things equally, if not more, disturbing? The hypocrisy simply astonishes.
Other. . .
Some of you found my comments about autism insensitive. Please read them again. I was not being insensitive to autism, I was being critical of non-autism. Just make sure that the funding for autism research goes to the right places, because even the research people are backing off over the number of autistic individuals. What I should have added to my rant was that one week I was hearing one out of 125 children was autistic, and a few days later TV spots dropped the total to one out of 100. Which is it, if it's either? Apparently, the numbers were increasing so quickly that somebody actually had to infuse common sense, a rare commodity indeed, before funding was jeopardized. And, remember, there is the issue of criminal "facilitators," suspected to be guiding autistic hands themselves from key to key so the autistic may "communicate" via the computer keyboard.
Sports, athletics, are not something I care about in the least, but ESPN's firing and suspension of people involved with the phrase "chink in the armor" regarding an American basketball player with Asian heritage is absurd. Are we to alter on a daily basis the use of innocent words and phrases which have been part of our culture for ages because somebody will be offended? Little by little, our First Amendment seems regarded more as an enemy than a free expression right. On that note -- Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans -- why not just American? As Europe has discovered and some leaders have said out loud, the multi-culturalism thing doesn't benefit a society, it destroys it. In this country, either be an American or don't, but don't play the I'm-this-and-that game, which only rips the fabric of society to shreds.
How's that President Obama thing going for you? Expensive family vacations, alternative energy companies funded big-time by tax dollars falling like dominoes, energy prices going nuts, government regulators sticking their heads and laws into every nook and cranny of our lives, a non-existent "Arab Spring" encouraged by adding fuel to the fire of radical Islam and enough national debt to keep your children and grandchildren choking on Chinese indebtedness economically for years to come. Yes, Bush started it and Obama built upon it, still blaming Bush for all of it to this day, and Mr. Obama alone has the obscene campaign funds to convince us all the way to November that what is is not. Beware.
At this moment, I expect Mr. Obama to be back for another four years, because the Republicans, those jerks, never learn the lesson, and the lesson ingrained even in many of their supporters' heads is that you don't get out there and start fighting everybody with God. They do it every time. Religion, religion, religion, it's what they throw out in front instead of attacking their opponent on the issues confronting the entire country. Keep it up, fools, and keep invading everybody's bedroom with unwanted reproduction advice. I think a fiscal conservative leaning toward libertarianism could work wonders right now. The Democrats and Republicans merely share the same unlaundered underwear every four years, just turning it inside-out and outside-in.
When the Swiss get around to launching those "janitor satellites" designed to sweep up space junk, another gem from the news last week, maybe they could be programmed to descend a bit and clean up politics, too?
Then there's that latest apology from the Obama Admin, communicated via a general, expressing our sympathy for burning prison Korans from Afghanistan with garbage. I'm sorry, too, sorry that perfectly good trash was mixed in with some really vicious prison literature. Because this occurred at an Air Force base and I'm a former USAF airman, I guess it's up to me to un-apologize, and I can only suggest that the books were burned with garbage because there were no flush toilets available. I particularly loved news videos of the hysterical crowds, shaking their fists and shouting that old mantra, "Death to America." Hey, you radical and crazy Afghan dudes and dudesses, my feeling is mutual toward your Stone Age country, and if my President was more interested in allowing our military to kill, destroy and conduct war instead of conducting sensitivity and diversity training, nation-building and apologies using rules developed by university dwellers who know nothing about battle and winning, there might have been a chance at peace. But now radical Islam will claim your butts -- as it will Syria after we borrow even more money from China to defeat its leaders, so that even more people who detest the United States can move in and claim victory. I never wanted us in Iraq or Afghanistan, but if one wishes to conduct a war, then have a war, not a social construct whose rules of etiquette prove hazardous to American and foreign fighting men and women and favorable to everything we supposedly battle against.
Meanwhile, we have Hollywood painting fantasies and the mainstream media doing pretty much the same thing. I think the studio ("entertainment") execs and media higher-ups not only share the same bed, they've obtained a bigger one to accommodate the deception factory.
And Iran (sigh). I couldn't possibly come up with a better definition of hotheaded insanity in the leadership, and one hopes the Iranian people who deserve better succeed in defeating their demons, though what doubt can there be that radical Islam will still rule the day? Good luck, Israel. Good luck, Europe. Good luck, USA.
Oh dear, I hope I haven't offended anybody. I suspect blogs are deleted for less of a rant.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
When does "meow" turn into Me? Ow!
Whether enigmatic animal (particularly cattle) mutilations are the dirty work of something frighteningly unknown, of Venusian hamster invaders armed with laser scalpels, or of clandestine government agencies which, for some reason, didn't budget enough to purchase their own experimental cows and ranch land, the issue that always diverted my eyes from the obvious evidence of trauma is -- what about nearby animals which appear unaffected by the forces killing and cutting up their companions? Would they be the real focus disguised by the chaos of mysterious mutilation circumstances? Are intruders throwing investigators off track by leaving so much evidence of horror among the dead that living animals dwelling nearby, who may have experienced less invasive but more important encounters, are ignored by the inquisitive?
But forget all of that for now and instead go into panic mode about another potential vessel of terror. . .your cat. Does the litter box harbor microscopic agents of internal hypnosis and biological destruction? Are recognized organisms, already inhabiting earth for a millennia, the stealth mutilators of another variety?
The March, 2012 issue of Atlantic Magazine features an article entitled "How Your Cat is Making You Crazy." Kathleen McAuliffe explores the work of Czech scientist Jaroslav Flegr. Flegr long believed that parasites found in house cats had entered his brain and caused certain changes in his activities. "Could tiny organisms carried by house cats," asks the author, "be creeping into our brains, causing everything from car wrecks to schizophrenia?"
The concern here is a single-celled parasite from the protozoan family called Toxoplasma
gondii (called T. gondii or simply Toxo) and is the microbe responsible for
toxoplasmosis, commonly found in cats. Pregnant women, you may already know, are instructed to avoid this organism.
This parasite, among what are suspected to be a myriad of microbial invaders available from all manner of living sources, appears to excel at entering human and animal brains with the express purpose of changing behavior to its own liking. For instance, studies indicate that rats infected with the parasite through contact with cat feces can be influenced to actually prefer going to places frequented by cats -- and cats, in turn, kill and eat the rats and eventually leave more cat droppings infiltrated with proliferating Toxo "offspring," waiting to infect more rats and other creatures which inadvertently eat the substance.
As far as humans go, the common cat litter box provides everything the Toxo parasite needs for human brain infiltration -- and once that occurs, anything can happen, the research suggests, and the result may occur specifically to benefit the invader. Organically, the effects may devastate a human. Research is just beginning to pull all of this together, though the evidence already in existence provides numerous clues.
The article is online, and I hadn't intended to read more than a few lines, but became captivated by the science, the theories and the implications, especially when the point was driven home that a lot of common disease processes and mental illnesses seem not to have been recorded in history until cats commonly became pets.
The article is fascinating, well worth your time, and if you have a cat -- don't worry, it's probably already too late to worry about feline dangers or litter box jitters. In fact, no matter what variety of pet you may have, it seems almost mandatory that they all carry some parasitic organisms just itching to burrow into our brains and, in the words of the street, make us their bitch. Sort of like what our government does routinely.
The online version is available here:
Monday, February 6, 2012
I'm not always as current as I would prefer when checking the link list, but there are a couple of fairly new additions of which you should be aware.
First, if you click on the link for the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies, you will find that downloads of the NICAP UFO Investigator, newsletter of the defunct National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, are now available for free. Previously, there was a charge for this material on CDs, but all issues are now free, each in .pdf format. Additionally, NICAP bulletins and other special published releases are out there for you at no charge. If you're searching for an excellent overview of modern UFO history, NICAP's documents can hardly be beat.
Also, if you hit the link to the official NICAP historical site (nicap.org) and check the free books section, you will find that Francis Ridge and associates just added the complete and exhaustively compiled Colorado UFO report. The official thick hardcover volume has been digitally transformed into numerous chapters to keep you busy downloading and reading for hours, and when you finish you may well do what many UFO researchers did years ago -- scratch your head and wish that Dr. Edward Condon had actually read his own team's report in depth (he didn't) before dismissing the UFO phenomenon's importance.
AND WHILE YOU'RE SURFING THE INTERNET. . .The mainstream media covered this story, generally leaving out the religious references. Still. . .
Be sure to check out the You Tube video from the late 18-year-old Texan, Ben Breedlove. Breedlove (pictured above), whose diagnosis from childhood was (I'm doing this from memory, so I hope I'm remembering correctly) hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, literally died several times while growing up, and he claimed some strange encounters whilst in between "here and there." I know there are medical explanations to explain away -- via brain synapses and the like, and that makes sense -- his observations, but his story fascinates, whether involving scrambled brain neurons as death becomes imminent -- or something far greater. The other weird factor is this: He died on Christmas day last year at age 18 during a family Christmas party, his heart having failed for the last time, and just a week before death he posted this heck of an interesting You Tube video, putting up one cue card after another in front of his face, allowing the words to tell his remarkable story as music plays in the background. I think the video was a surprise even to his family, whose members may not have had a clue that he posted what would become a monumental legacy, one of the most watched videos on You Tube. Breedlove seemed a strikingly beautiful young man in every way who apparently lived life to the fullest, having offered a variety of Internet presentations regarding teenage matters up until his death, and the fact that he appears so healthy on this final video and exhibits total control makes his amazing life's story all the more curious, forcefully told in a unique and surprisingly effective manner. Yes, he believed in God and angels, but his two-part You Tube presentation will impress even those who accept life only as a mystery, privilege, an accident or encumbrance. Check this one out, tell your friends, and assure them that it's okay to cry sometimes, because they just might.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
It's awkward for me to post a blog entry (see previous) about the death of an allegedly evil, homicidal person attached, unfortunately, to the UFO subject, and then follow it a few days later with a tribute regarding a truly kind, dedicated man whose name, writing and influence was known among UFO investigators throughout the world for decades.
My first encounter with Arkansas native Lucius Farish occurred in the late 1970s, when he was writing the popular "In Others' Words" column for each monthly MUFON UFO Journal. To my surprise, Lou not only mentioned an article I wrote for one of the national "newsstand" magazines -- he actually praised it. Anybody who would actually say something positive about my writing obviously required questioning, so I immediately sat down and typed out a letter to Lou on one of several old used office typewriters I kept around the house.
Thus began several years of typed correspondence between Lou and I, he at that time the resident of a town called Plumerville, and I came to know him as very well-informed, intimately involved in UFO research and proud as can be of the annual Ozark UFO convention he ultimately put together. His inspiring, articulate letters reflected not only extensive knowledge of UFO history and current events, but an upbeat sense of humor which never failed. His articles appeared in numerous publications over the years, and though some of his opinions may have seemed extreme to some (for instance, he was a bit more supportive of some contactee claims than others may have been, if they accepted any such claims whatsoever), he didn't shirk from taking a stand on issues of controversy, whether involving UFOs or topics of the paranormal. Along with Rod Dyke, he regularly churned out UFO Newsclipping Service issues, a monthly compilation of photocopied newspaper articles about UFO reports throughout the world. [Note: the UFONS issues were eventually published by Farish alone, and years later Dyke reacquired the responsibilities, and UFONS finally ceased publication only recently.]
Years passed and the letters between us became fewer and fewer, and by the time e-mail became routine we were only in contact on rare occasions in recent years. I think the last time was in 2006 or 2007 when I posted information on this blog for people interested in attending the Ozark UFO conference.
I remember asking him years ago about his first name, as Lucius -- an old name -- doesn't seem that common anymore, and I've certainly never met anybody else named Lucius. In response, with laughter, I'm sure, he stated that the worst part about having that name is the letters he sometimes received addressed to Lucille Farish!
And, hmm, oh yes -- seems that Lou once expressed considerable gratitude because the American voting process had succeeded in getting Bill and Hillary Clinton the heck out of Arkansas.
Other than the conferences, Lou Farish avoided occasions enhanced by TV cameras ("I still do radio interviews occasionally, but not as many as I once did," Lou wrote in a 2006 e-mail. "No TV, as my face is much better suited to radio!"), though he did enjoy appearing with Errol Bruce-Knapp on Errol's "Strange Days. . .Indeed!" radio show a few years back. In February of 1979 Lou did a 30-minute interview for the Arkansas Radio Network and, since I carefully noted that factoid on a 3x5 index card, that probably means I have or had a tape of that interview stored somewhere safe. And apparently, so far, invisible.
Of course, Lou will be missed. The losses, the names, appear to pass by faster and faster, each leaving without answers, reluctantly leaving the UFO mystery's solution for others to discover. Maybe.
(To read his obituary, proceed to www.harrisfuneralhomes.net)