Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Beware the Mayan Whatever

Is the world going to end on Dec. 21?

Probably not.  In fact, it is a 99.9% definite possibility that it won't.  I am only leaving a small bit of wiggle room because this makes me sound more pseudo-scientific.  No matter what, most people will wake up on Dec. 22 with the world as they more or less know it (minus a few hangovers and stuff).

The Mayan Apocalypse may be a tad overstated.    OK, George Lucas may or may not buy into it (his staff says he doesn't).  Many Russians are worried about it.  A bunch of Mayans are telling people to cut it out with all of the doomsday talk.  NASA agrees with the Mayans.  So there!

Of course the doomsayers club is extremely predominate across the internet.  I have seen postings from various mythics, seers, and spiritually inclined observers chatting about the upcoming 3 days (though now stretched to 2 weeks) of darkness that will overwhelm the earth.  According to some, the spirits of the dead shall walk while the poles shall shift and our vibrations will vibrate way off the chart (or something like that - it's a little confusing).

Obviously,  it is all horse hockey.  The so-called Mayan prophesy (which is composed of a few relatively minor glyphs) is not exactly a prophesy and the vision of the Apocalypse has been cobbled together from a bad mix of Mayan, Aztec, and Western references.  Heck, all the Mayans talked about in regards to Dec. 21, 2012 was their concept of one age ending and a new age beginning.  They were largely shy about any details and were definitely not talking about the world ending.  For the Mayans, it was all about the continual cycles of the cosmos.  The Apocalypse stuff is a Western mindset that would have been quite alien to the Mayans.

So get over it.  Nobody is talking about the end of the world.  There is nothing in here about poles shifting, the earth tilting, or anything of that sort of splashy Hollywood styled doomsday imagining.  Besides, it could be argued that the doomsday notion is based on a glass-is-half-empty vision.

What if the glass is half-full.  You know, the start of a new age.  A chance to quietly reboot.  Maybe even get a new and, hopefully, better perspective on things.  Maybe, just maybe, embrace the new age as simply a chance to start fresh.  Nothing speculator.   Just an old fashion resolve to try and do better.

Doesn't that sound preferable?  Or do you really have your heart set on a big old catastrophic end of the world,  fire and brimstone event? 

If so, plan on having it alone.  A lot of us will be busy with other things.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Just a Little FYI

This is less a posting and more of a solicitation for information.  On Sunday night, August 26 (2012), we were on the phone to a friend of ours in Hubbard, Ohio.  In the middle of conversation, she held a ruckus outside and went to see what was happening.  She and various neighbors found themselves standing around staring at a mysterious object flying low and moving slow through the sky.

It is described as being about the size of four or five prop planes in both width and depth.  It appeared to have been square shaped with rounded corners.  It had no standard FAA lights but did have a faint glowing band around its center and two intense beams of blue-white light shooting out of the back.  It was about 600 to 800 feet up in the sky and moving roughly West.  The object made a noise that supposedly resembled the sound of this YouTube tape

In attempting to get an ID on the object, we have so far ruled out the Goodyear blimp (too bad - their hangers are just to the West of Hubbard) and it doesn't appear to fit any known military model for lighter than air crafts.  I am hoping that there might be more witnesses out there, especially people who saw it from a different location.

The event took place on Sunday, August 26 around 10 pm (EDT).  I can be contacted through this site via the comment section and any help would be appreciated.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Medium Cool

As a general rule, anything bad you might hear about a commercial "psychic" is usually accurate.  The bogus nature of this ancient trade is legendary as they largely contact the spirit world in pursuit of your wallet.  Normally you want to avoid them and if you can't avoid them, be sure to know the phone number for the fraud division of your local police force.

Ironically, my only first hand experience with a paid medium was somewhat different.  So before I start, let me once again state for the record that most (and I mean the overwhelming vast majority of) commercial psychics are bogus, dishonest, and untrustworthy.  However, the one person I dealt with was...well, I don't know.  It was an odd experience.

At the time, I was dealing with some legal "issues" involving a recently deceased relative.  Since it finally resulted in a lawsuit and out-of-court settlement, I am not allowed to discuss much of the case.  But I was trying to learn a variety of details concerning my cousin's death that were proving difficult to pin down.  A family friend suggested that I should talk to a psychic they knew.  I do not wish to give out either this man's name or phone number because he has since retired from public consultation. 

At first I didn't much like the idea, but I finally decided that it might be a bit of a lark (as long as I kept an eye on my wallet).  This psychic was located in another part of the state, but did telephone consultation several evenings every week.  All I had to do was first send him a check for $25 dollars and he would arrange an hour slot for us to talk.  I sent the check, got my spot and kept waiting for the up-sale.   

There was no up-sale.  $25 an hour was his flat and only rate.  In actuality, we ran slightly over the hour.  That was not a problem.  He did tell me that he likes getting the fee out of the way upfront because he wasn't totally comfortable with charging.

The phone session was quite simple.  We chatted briefly, mostly about our mutual acquiescence (who he hadn't talked to for a while, which I already knew) and then he took a couple of seconds to settle into a "state" of contact with his spirit guide.  There was no change in his voice nor speech pattern.  He  preceded to contact the decease.  We then had a bit of an awkward conversation because my cousin wasn't all that responsive.  In fact the psychic finally asked me "Was he like this in life?"

Unfortunately, the answer was "Yes."  We were getting "answers" to direct questions but even the psychic afterwards told me that it was a bit like pulling teeth.  Again, unfortunately, that accurately described my cousin.  The core answers we got would later prove to be correct.  Extremely correct.  We also conducted a read on the person who was about to become the defendant in our impending lawsuit.  There it would be harder to judge the accuracy of this "read," but the material would later prove useful in what became an extremely long suit. 

At the end of the phone session, he took a moment to introduce me to one of my guardian angels.  She took the name and form of Glinda, the good witch in The Wizard of Oz.  Until now (which means as of this posting), I have never told anyone that I have privately always viewed this film character as an ideal vision of a guardian angel.  I do not see how he could have simply guessed this detail.  Heck, I basically haven't even watched the movie since childhood.

So let me go back to what I said at the beginning of this piece.  Most commercial psychics are bogus.  It is a scam.  They are simply fleecing you.

But my personal experience has been extremely different.  Oh goodness, are we back to that "More things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of" point in Hamlet?   

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Phantom of Rte. 40 (and 30 and 45 Etc.)

Sometimes the best news is really out of date weird news.  Modern reality is a bit depressing and an old relic of an urban folktale can hit the spot like an ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day.

So it was fun to be recently reminded of an obscure bit of Ohio folklore, the Phantom of Route 40 (video link provided by NBC4 of Columbus, Ohio).  A nice half-scary tale from the early 1950s with a dash of hot rods and a splash of rational explanation.  It plays like a drive-in movie with fun for the whole family.

The story is pretty simple.  In the early spring of 1952, a mysterious person roamed late at night up and down a stretch of Route 40 (aka the National Road) near Dayton, Ohio in a high-speed jalopy.  The driver would whiz past various lonely truckers, switching on a mysterious system of greenish lights which accentuated the skeleton costume and skull like mask worn by the driver.  Once the trucker was thoroughly spooked, the car shot on down the road and would vanish out of sight.

The numerous reports from various frightened truckers kept both the state highway patrol and the local police busy for part of that spring.  It even inspired a song (though I have not been able to confirm some of the details contained in the third verse) and a variety of campfire tales.  It also added to the extremely rich body of folklore found in the Dayton area (not all of which has to do with Wright-Patterson Air Base).  If you watch the TV presentation, there is even a faint suggestion that some one in the area even knows (or at least suspects) who the prankster might be, leaving the tale with a nice sense of possible closure.

To be bad there are a couple of oddities about this tale.  We can vouchsafe from the newspaper accounts that this was happening during the period of March through April of 1952.  There are strong rumors (though I am having problems confirming them) of other reports that came later (possibly as late as 1953).  This suggests that you had one really dedicated prankster.

The eyewitness reports (all from rattled truckers) suggests that the hot rod was rigged with a variety of special lights (interior and exterior).  Some of the reports also hints at some kind of fog effect producing a halo around the car's roof.  Technically, a car could have been rigged with the equipment needed back in the early 1950s.  However, it would have taken a lot of equipment back then.  I also doubt if the car could have handled a fog machine.  It would have required a prankster who was not only a hot rod enthusiast, but also a reasonably gifted electrician and lighting designer. 

All of which is possible but this guy is now becoming a very versatile chap.  He might also have been on the thin side since he would be losing space inside the car due to all of the equipment he must have been hauling around.  But this is all still possible.

He also had a lot of free time on his hands.  The Phantom of Route 40 was also making appearances on parts of Route 30 and Route 45 near the town of Wellsville, Ohio.  These incidents were all taking place during the month of March as well.  The Phantom of Route 40 was operating near the Indiana border.  Wellsville is midway between Pittsburgh, PA and Youngstown, Ohio, over 200 miles on the other side of the state.  Today, it would take about 4 hours to drive from the one spot to the other (mostly by interstate).  In 1952, the trip would have easily taken about 7 to 8 hours.

So this was one incredibly dedicated prankster.  Guess the guy was pretty tired from sitting behind the wheel by the time he got to Wellsville.  Some of those reports claim that the driver was standing on the car's running board while high balling the vehicle along a bumpy road.  Was this cool cat good or what!

The thin details of the story makes it almost impossible for any kind of assessment.  Most likely, some one was having a blast.  But the news reports have just enough odd details with widely divergent locations that you have to wonder.  Especially in 1952, when lots of people were looking upward at a major UFO flap.  Add in the many tales of ghosts roaming highways and byways and well...who knows.

Monday, July 09, 2012

If They Ever Come From Outer Space

Once again, the anniversary of the Roswell Incident has come and gone and nobody has gotten a day off.  You would think that folks in this country would get a lousy day off for something like an alien crash but no...we don't even get any stupid greeting cards.

Oh well.  However, it is a good time to reflect on the ever popular notion of alien invasion.  Due to a wide variety of factors, the concept is becoming faddish in some mighty strange areas as a solution to world peace (the novel Impact by Douglas Preston) and  to economic policies (Paul Krugman and his fake alien invasion proposal).  Oddly enough, these ideas are almost starting to sound half reasonable.

What isn't reasonable are the various scenarios for such an invasion.  Despite some recent interviews and news programs (such as the NBC Today Show story), we don't really know what the folks at the Pentagon really have up their sleeves in the event of a real War of the Worlds.  Unfortunately, it is probably deeply rooted in traditional military concepts.  After all, you often get a standard form of thinking from the Pentagon like you get the same type of burger from every McDonald's.

Likewise, the history of the U.S. Military cooperation with certain movies would suggest that the key concept of the film was acceptable to the brass.  It doesn't mean that the government is trying to send covert messages to the audience (beyond the usual: 1. We look good; 2. We got lots of neat equipment; 3. Don't worry - if anything happens we can handle it; 4. Why not join?).  But it does mean that the core ideas are considered half OK.

So certain Hollywood movies do suggest some of the thinking and basically, it all seems to be rooted in the central concept of total full frontal attack as found in such classics as Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and War of the Worlds.  Lots of aliens with lots and lots of ships that come screaming in until it becomes a pitch battle waiting for something that tips the war to Earth's favor.

From a film producers viewpoint, this is the way it ought to be.  Major tourist sites get blown up, mass carnage and speculator displays of destruction followed by a nice moral message and a sweet surge of optimism about the human spirit.  But to be honest, I doubt if an alien invasion would ever happen in this manner.  For one thing, the sheer cost in material needed for a global invasion (even of a smallish planet such as ours) would have to be mind boggling.  Even with superior weapons, alien invaders would have to expect a protracted and costly fight.  

Of course this type of invasion is also remarkably human in its planning.  Presumably this is how we would do it...oh yeah, we are not talking about humans are we.  For all I know, we could be talking about methane breathing jellyfish critters from a moon of Saturn.

Which is why I would argue that the real starting point for exploring alien invasion (at least in theory) is best found in the TV scripts of the British writer Nigel Kneale.  Especially the four parts of the Quatermass trilogy (long story but it is sort of a four part trilogy).

The most important of the original stories would be Quatermass II  and  Quatermass and the Pit (better known in the U.S. by the title of Five Million Years to Earth).  Quatermass II answers the question about methane breathing life forms (most likely they would deal with invasion through a radical change of our atmosphere - which would deal with the human issue pretty quickly).  As for Quatermass and the Pit, well if you have read Nick Redfern's book Final Events then you can kick back and watch the so-called Collins Elite's worse nightmare.  Even more bizarre, Kneale has an incredible skill at making the fantastic seem strangely logical and highly plausible. 

Along with the work of Nigel Kneale, I would also highly recommend the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham.  This tale of an attempted invasion involving a small band of alien-hybrid children is profoundly precise, rational, and deeply disturbing.  Good grief, it also sounds modern.  But if you cannot find a copy of the book, the original British film version titled Village of the Damned does a good job of conveying most of the book's key points (minus the references to Hegel).   Skip the American version.  It is extremely weak.

This is merely a short list, but these would be the key works to start any serious study on the subject.  I just hope the Pentagon is playing attention. 

Friday, June 01, 2012

(Almost) Zombie Apocalypse

Repeat after me: "There is no such thing as the Zombie Apocalypse."

Keep saying this to yourself.  Oh, and don't watch the news or anything because that might disrupt your state of denial.

Sure, the Center for Disease Control is busy telling everyone that the Zombie Apocalypse tests they kept conducting over the past several years were just a fun way to teach disaster preparedness.  But isn't that what the government always wants you to believe?  Odd thing, they have just removed the material from their web site.  Like what do they really know?

The recent zombie attack in Miami wasn't really a zombie in the honest to goodness zombie sense.  It was simply zombie-like.  Really had to do with bath salts.  You see, it's all perfectly rational.  It just happens that all of the video footage looks like a scene from Night of the Living Dead.

After all, there is no scientific way of creating zombies.  So don't look at the Cracked.com blog piece on The 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen.  Sure, the piece is funny and accurate and everything, but do you really want to know this stuff?  Wouldn't you rather get a good night sleep?

Good thing that Richard Lawson over at the Atlantic Wire has set us straight with his cry for an end to all of this zombie nonsense.  He's right, you know.  Sort of.  Maybe.  Oh hell, he ought to be right but the growing rash of bizarre incidents are getting kind of weird.

You got the porn actor who killed, raped, and ate his victim.  There's the guy in New Jersey who disemboweled himself and then threw his intestines at the police. Then there is the college student who killed and ate his room mate.  Fortunately it isn't just here in the States as reports just came in about a Swedish man who cut off his wife's lips and ate them.  And these are just a few of the grisly highlights from the past week of deranged news items.

Add in the ever growing reports of people who keep dropping their clothes and taking a naked stroll along with the numerous cases of berserk behavior on airplanes, you start getting a creepy feel. That kind of sensation when you're walking along on a warm summer day and a cold wind hits you in the face.  I mean I know better and all of that, but it is getting really difficult not to notice that this is becoming a tad worrisome.

Because of the current global economic situation, the stress level is running mighty high.  Lots of people must feel like they are at their wits end.  Many folks are on edge.  Occasionally, I have pondered the possibility of a near global mental breakdown that sounds like something out of the old George Romero movie The Crazies.  Previously, I had dismissed this idea as too extreme.

These days, I'm not so sure.  Heck, I'm ready to get out a DVD of Zombieland so I can bone back up on the rules.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Space Oddity

Don't you just hate it when things come in threes?  Sure, sometimes the pattern is OK.  Sometimes it's not so OK.  But mostly it's annoying.

It is especially annoying when it involves something that should be easily ignored.  Take for example the recent buzz on the net concerning the supposed alien ship orbiting the sun.  Oh sure, the photo is extremely suggestive though the dang thing seems to be the size of a planet and its possible function is hard to discern.  But just look at those articulated arms on that thing.

Of course, the official NASA explanation is also pretty reasonable. One of the problems with digital photography is a tendency to occasionally produce patterns out of random patterns (for example, stray cosmic rays coming in at an unusual angle - according to NASA).  It is a common enough phenomena to actually be occasionally true (though perhaps not as often as some skeptics would like to believe).

So  Nathan Rich's glitch explanation is pretty good.  At least it was the first time back in 2011 when the same type of object was spotted by SOHO (and my thanks to SunsFlare over on YouTube for looking this one up).  In fact Nathan Rich's recent statements about the April photo was a repackaging of his same explanation back in October.

OK, so once is an accident and twice is coincidence.  These things happen.  It is a bit odd that these stray cosmic rays would result in the same formation each time, but it isn't impossible.  Highly unlikely, sure, but not impossible.

So I guess Nathan Rich isn't too happy that it happened again.  Good grief!  You would think that those stray cosmic rays would learn a few new tricks.  So now SOHO is offline for some "needed repairs."  Not a moment too soon because this is getting a bit weird. 

When the news story broke last month, I wrote it all off as a simple glitch.  My assumption was that if anything was really going on then there would have to be previous corresponding photos and without such images, leave this type of report to our old "friend" The Weekly World News.  I felt pretty happy with that attitude.

Then I made the mistake of looking for information related to previous such images.  OK, there is one.  Now I'm not so happy.  Gee, at the very least you would think that NASA could use our tax dollars to build better equipment than this dang piece of junk.  But things happen and two such incidents don't necessarily mean anything.

But now we are up to three such images.  All remarkably the same.  As Groucho Marx once said: "That's an awful lot of accidents for such a quiet neighborhood."

And by the way, we have just gone past the coincidence stage and thrice is a problem.  Whether it is a major technical failure or a visitation, Houston's got a problem and they are not really being honest about it.  Most likely, they don't even know what really is going on (which might explain the quick move to take SOHO offline). 

I don't think we need to get out the tinfoil hats (just yet), but I can't wait to hear Nathan Rich explain this one.  Hey!  Maybe it is just the planet Venus.