Monday, December 3, 2012

James Moseley: Earlier Years, Earlier Words

 What seems an ever-spiraling death rate among familiar names involved with the ubiquitous subject of UFOs, as the decades go by all too fast, has claimed another.

James W. Moseley (age 81) died in Florida a few days ago, best known in recent years for writing Saucer Smear (the title pretty much nails its subject matter), dutifully typed out by himself and then, last I knew, posted online by another who possessed the Internet skills Moseley wouldn’t be bothered with.  Back in the sixties, I subscribed to his periodical, Saucer News, in which he routinely imparted "flying saucer" news, rumor, backyard gossip and opinion.  Perhaps his was the "Grit" (a newspaper of sorts) of the UFO reader.

I don't believe I had any contact with Jim Moseley since the sixties, but I did go into the archives of chance (that is, I went searching for things of mine that I rarely find, but sometimes luck shines) and found a 1965 letter and three postcards from the man himself, and for history's sake I've posted them today.  I say for history's sake because otherwise I appear petty and ghoulish for digging up memories from the recently departed so quickly. 

Most of the contents of these documents won't make sense to readers unacquainted with UFO history, but suffice it to say that I was in my teens at that time, had joined the (late and lamented) UFO organization NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena -- see link to NICAP's historical Web site) the previous year and was staunchly supportive of NICAP, its director Major Donald E. Keyhoe (USMC, retired) and assistant director Richard Hall.

Moseley, often more concerned about the people interested in UFOs than with the phenomenon itself, remained exceptionally critical of NICAP, and particularly of Hall, and because his comments outraged me I wrote him in defense of things he condemned.  Thinking way back, I believe I felt especially exercised about his negative comments regarding Hall, whom I had found -- and always found as years passed -- both a positive influence on UFO research and a solid, friendly and educational contact for me.

Despite Moseley's anti-NICAP opinions, however, the Congressional hearings he assured would never be held eventually did materialize.

I've no doubt there were contentious meetings and conversations between NICAP personnel and the researchers Moseley references, though I submit that my own visit to the NICAP headquarters in Washington, D.C. was cordial and informative.

I've no longer carbon copies of my letters to Moseley, though I know I took several opportunities to respond to his slams about NICAP (maybe I was a bit too determined in my youthful exuberance, and Moseley was surely thrilled to have reeled in a blustering teenager who hung on to his every sarcastic word).  He did eventually print part of a letter I wrote (see posted image) in a 1966 issue of "Saucer News," but he deleted most of the things I thought were important to say.  He, of course, would say the letter was edited for space.  Maybe, probably so.

Jim Moseley was long known to many in the UFO research arena, and the fact that he remained strangely relevant and maintained a presence for so long in print is a credit to both the web (and Web) he wove and to all the buzzing bits of information and intrigue its strands ensnared.  I'd like to write that sentence differently, but quite honestly I don't know how.  No matter.  Circus tents will continue to rise and fall with the seasons.

CRUISING THE UNIVERSE ABOARD THE STAR SHIP OBAMA-PRIZE:  I’m so glad to have the ability to feature a list of links where you can tap into the latest news about the UFO phenomenon, because I’m the past and tend to post older scans and information – that is, when I’m not attacking political issues. I assure readers that I haven’t gone over the emotional cliff, it’s just that I see real danger ahead unrelated to UFOs, and sometimes all we have is words, and if one has an ability to use words wisely, soberly, sarcastically, with irony or outrage or humor, then let the alphabet flow as necessary. 

On Friday evening, with my TV tuned by some mistake to NBC News, a report from the streets of Egypt popped up, and to my amazement NBC actually carried a video segment of a woman in the crowd blaming Obama for embracing the Muslim Brotherhood and inadvertently encouraging events leading to the current outrage and upheaval. Well, she didn’t say inadvertently.  Her fears are warranted, however.

NBC allowing blame of Obama for anything is a miracle in itself, and to witness a voice from Egypt pipe up and put the burden where X marks the spot was incredible.  I’d love to simply write about UFOs all the time, but thanks in no small part to President Obama the world is a shakier place, and his negligent and dangerous foreign policy will affect the U.S. as well as the rest of the world. No, George Bush was no superhero, either, but consider that Mr. Obama remained basically silent and uninvolved when the people of Iran took to the streets in a desperate bid for democracy and escape from radical crazy-style Islamic brutality.  Hillary Clinton made a joke about the death of Libya's dictator, as if all would go well after his demise, and of course everything is falling apart still.  And now our “friends” in Iraq are reportedly allowing Iran to fly weapons into Syria over its air space.  Perhaps bolstered somewhat by Muslim Brotherhood gains across the Middle East as the MB attempts an Islamic Sharia law stranglehold on Egypt, it appears the latest Hamas rocket attacks on Israel from the Palestinian side were dispatched with considerable confidence.  One cannot underestimate radical Islam’s desire for an international Caliphate, and because the Muslim Brotherhood – formerly imprisoned and forbidden in Egypt, comprising terrorists and thugs (and remember, they assassinated Sadat) – is quickly regaining a foothold throughout the Middle East, yes, you bet, I’m angry as hell that some very uninformed people re-elected for the USA a significant perpetrator-in-chief, and his name is Obama. Obama, whom, we are now told, out of 104 golf games played, only included members of Congress twice.  From both sides of the aisle, at least? 

When Egypt eventually slips into radical Islamist mode for good, thank President Obama, the Prez who can do no wrong, even when he does.  Even, I hate to mention them, Pravda got this Administration right a few days ago, pointing out that the USA is becoming the old Soviet Union.  The world laughs at us whilst picking our pockets.  Wait until climate change tax initiatives pick up speed in the damned criminal United Nations, whose influence seems poised to interfere with or remove national sovereignty anywhere it wishes.  Even as I write this, a science update notes that while U.S. carbon emissions have decreased, China’s have increased dramatically.  Now, just what enviro-goons plan to tackle the Chinese, when picking on America under Constitutional guarantees is so much easier, and nobody’s body parts are harvested as a consequence?

Meanwhile, we await results of the official “investigation” into Benghazi deaths, an absolutely unnecessary activity intended only to buy time so all potential blame can be removed from the President’s doorstep -- despite his empty assurances that he’s ultimately responsible for everything (including, we assume, the very birth of the universe).  Must we be thought so stupid as to believe that the final answers were not right before everybody’s eyes as the Benghazi massacre unfolded? 

And now we have Syria.  Ah yes, Syria.  What did I read last week?  If the nerve gas stockpiles and such become a threat during the conflict, we may have to send in 75,000 troops to control that little situation?  75 thousand?  Of course, Americans.  With military cuts on the horizon, that would be interesting.  Oh, and Syria’s the one place where land mines are still in style, not to forget  Anyway, four more years coming up.  Enjoy.

SPORTS KILL:  So it happened again, dateline Kansas City this time.  How’s about the next time some football player or some other anger-unmanaged, testosterone-drenched jockstrap champion kills his wife or girlfriend, often leaving a kid or two behind, and then takes his own life, maybe the major TV news shows could start off THAT “top” story by just saying the killer was a thug who turned murderer, and then forget his name forever, and just go on with stories about the victim(s)?  We really must dispense with the athlete/hero status of these low-life killers who resort to their basic instincts.  Unless they experienced the trauma of battle as former military members, I really don’t give a whit about how screwed up their heads are because they chose to get beat to hell for a chance at self-serving fame and big money.  Really, if it’s not recurrent legal trouble with these pathetic morons, it’s local TV stations featuring school athletes of the week instead of intelligent brains of the week.  Every week, TV abounds with commercials driven by famous athletes, and they tell us to buy a certain deodorant because they do, or to buy specific automobiles because they drive them, or to purchase various items of highly priced sporting equipment because that’s what they use faithfully.  What if. . .

“Hi, I’m Bruno Adonis Narcissistaroney of the Northeastern State Central Wussies, and I successfully demonstrate my extreme talents on the football field every week.  I may seem like a nice guy off the field when my fans rightfully worship and cherish me like a god, but, man oh man, let me tell you – my lady is getting to me and I just know I’ll have to do something about it.  That’s why I’m on TV today to tell you about my preferred weapon of choice both on the street and in the bedroom.  Check this out.  It’s not just a gun and it’s not just a knife – it’s a knife that shoots real bullets!  The best part?  It comes with a non-stick surface, and if you order today we’ll double the offer.  Remember, I’m a famous athlete and while I’m a pro at making babies, I don’t handle my girlfriends so well, and maybe you don’t either, so that’s why I’m telling you to keep one or two of these around the house like me.  You never know when it might come in handy!  Don’t be caught short when you’re pissed – call the toll-free number on your screen and order today – and when you call, be sure to ask about free shipping!”

We’ve nurtured and grown a significantly large society of athleto-idiots, apparently craved with applause by the masses.  And in this regard, may I again throw out the words, Election Day 2012?  Proof positive.

OVERUSED PHRASES OF THE YEAR:  I’m no Hemingway, but even I know a screwed up phrase when I hear it over and over and over again:  It’s complicated.

What’s complicated?  These words appear often in TV shows and movies and pop up in normal conversation daily.  Why?  Is something really complicated?  Or did morons with little vocabulary in storage suddenly ponder that complicated contains four syllables, and using a four-syllable word makes them appear genius-level at the local bar & grill?

(“Tell me about your life,” she said, trying to make conversation on their first date.

“I can’t.  It’s complicated,” he replied, impressed with himself and certain she was dazzled by his approach. . .)

Of course, if one needs to leave the scene quickly without taking questions, the words can be drawn out as one makes an escape.

(“Sorry, have to run now, can’t explain because it’s cahhhhhhhmmmmpliiiiiiiicaaaaaaaaateeeeed. . .”)

I suspect, too, that TV writers like their characters to say It’s complicated a lot because they can avoid explaining things in depth with those two magical words.

(“Dad, how do you build a nuclear bomb?”

“It’s complicated, son.”)

We never used to say It’s complicated.  I think the popularity exists for even deeper reasons.  For instance, life has become so filled with detail and uncertainty that any throw-away phrase to dismiss a potential subject of discussion can be welcome.  Multi-tasking has also created a need to walk over a topic with appropriate words in order to get on with other tasks.

Worst of all, responding with “It’s complicated” allows all the young people learning nothing in school or college to get out of critical thinking exercises when questions of importance are raised out in public.  Why risk being embarrassed on the street when one can just weave matters of common sense or urgency into two-word complexities – and because one of those words is built upon four syllables, at least one sounds as if in possession of a scintilla of intelligence?  “It’s complicated” isn’t complicated at all, but to much of our self-hypnotized society those words apparently glitter like gold.

One More:  Particularly noticeable when people phone call-in radio or TV shows, but certainly evident in stores, why do people say, “I have a quick question for you.”?  Is there some expectation that those to whom questions are asked will listen more intently if given the assumption that queries will be issued in a quick split second?  Does the use of qu twice in a row sound somehow brilliant?  Is quick thrown in as something of an apology for daring to ask somebody a question and robbing them of a few seconds out of their life?  I’m pretty sure that most people desirous of asking a “quick question” would hardly be satisfied with a quick answer.