The anachronisms abound here. In Spanish it is OVNI for “objectivos vuela no identificar” which is in English Unidentified flying objects. But UFO like other terms in hot usage evolve and UFO as a term has too much Hollywood baggage. Or so thought the US Department of Defense, the DOD. They rebranded the steer named UFO as UAP. Thats Unidentified Arial Phenomenon. Again pretty much the same thing….but could be something other than Hollywood aliens. Lets hope so. Lets hope the universe can be more inventive than most of the movie industry. But if this is the survey work for an alien invasion and take over…I want to start right now loosening my already loose loyalty to Human kind. I want to go on record right now as welcoming our new alien overlords. As I’ve already said, I want a trans dimensional story line. Maybe with time travel. It is so much in the hands of the writer and producer. I can’t wait for the movie.
Late in 2020 the US government instructed the military and intelligence services to spill the beans on 70+ years of sightings. “What do you know?” the Senators and Representatives ask in an official way. Puts the government apparatus in a difficult spot. Spill the beans and piss off Don Cosmic, the tough guy who runs this part of the galaxy. The Don doesn’t want anything bad to happen to the Earth but he also doesn’t like it when sentient creatures talk too much. When they drop a dime and snitch the Don gets ugly. When the Don isn’t happy meteoroids and bigger rocks rain down. A planet’s biosphere isn’t healthy after a comet lands. The Capa de Cosmos keeps a lot of icy comets cooling their heels in the Ort cloud. He only needs to give the word, a little nudge, and one starts falling toward the blue green marble.
That’s one take on the latest iteration of a favorite idea. Aliens visiting Earth. Or secret human technologies. Or visitors from the future (Human presumably). Or trans dimensional apparitions of some kind. And that maddening question, do you “believe” in UFO’s….as though believing meant much. The question does suggest that for most people believing is seeing. If that’s the case, if we build reality from belief, there should be an increase of sightings. Oh there is something there. Something is flying around Navy assets and being seen on radar and IR and Lidar as well maybe. But the you in UFO means unidentified. That is the situation, nobody knows. Not a problem, humans regularly build huge structures of belief when knowledge falls short. Trouble is we can’t seem to agree on what to believe in. Me?, I’ve chosen the trans dimensional thing. It could be combined with the “beings from the future” idea. Seems somebody wrote a book about how trans dimensional visitors appear in the dimension being visited. “Flatland: a romance of many dimensions”, is that book. It was written in 1885 by Edwin Abbott. In it we, living in the higher dimensional world, the world of three dimensions visit Flatland, a two dimensional reality. Check it out, The book is public domain now and available on the web.
But our world is a cultural one. It is less dimension than demented. Our senses doing their best to interpret stimulus and our minds modeling a conspiracy called “reality”. The conspiracy isn’t theory, its our attempt to make a sane place to live. The sightings are upsetting because they don’t conform. But unknown remains unknown. It does unless you give in to the human tendency to make stuff up. Most people would rather force fit an ill fitting explanation into the model than NOT know. When I was repairing electronics for a living I often wondered what the key to success in that area was. It wasn’t technical knowledge so much as persistence in the face of ignorance. The skill is being able to continue to investigate when no progress is made. Science, medicine, physics are fields where progress in knowledge came by way of people who could tolerate their own ignorance. Most of us can’t. When others illuminate our ignorance, even our common ignorance, we ridicule them.
As long as the phenom, the UFO/UAV, don’t get too physical we should be able to keep bravely whistling in the dark. If they limit themselves to playing games with Navy ships and aircraft and nobody gets hurt we can continue whistling. What would be really cool, a work of conceptual art, would be this. At the moment the congress receives the UFO/UAV report a thousand disks and tic tac craft form over Washington DC. Then the military sends up lots of fighters to intercept. Then nothing. The objects ignore the fighters. After an hour the objects silently zoom away at Mach six. But, they’ve been seen by a million people all over the DC area. On HD TV hundreds of millions around the globe watched. All the radar and IR and down looking spy sats have studied them. Russian and Chinese and Israeli spy sats saw them. Now everybody believes. Now nobody calls the observers crazy. But….we still do NOT know anything we didn’t know! We have nothing we can act on to gain any knowledge. We are still in the dark but at least we’ve stopped whistling.
I never really cottoned up to numbers. Oh I used them. I learned to add and subtract and divide and that other thing, multiply. Letters were different. I got to like letters when they assembled themselves into words. This because the words could be strung together in sentences. Those early sentences made quite an impression because I still remember them. “See spot run” and the sentence that invariably followed, “Run spot run”. The back story revealed that spot was a dog. A dog with spots, thus his name. Didn’t know that when I first encountered spot. I was paying more attention to Jane. Oh, there was a guy, her friend, Dick. Their story unfolded over several books. The covers and interiors were of a graphic style popular back then, in the 1950’s. Non threatening pictures, watercolors. That’s as it should have been, the words were the stars, the letters and sentences had top billing. Boys and girls and even dogs were supporting actors – the goal was reading. We children, ducking and covering against Soviet bombers, as we learned that skill. If I had known enough to anticipate the the drone of Russian TU-95 Bears I’d have been distracted. They had counter rotating props you know. Tupolov’s design office did great work. But we didn’t get nuked and I did learned to read. In just a few years I was reading pulp science fiction. I must have read a few of P.K. Dick’s short stories, he wrote so many. Was he any relation to Jane’s buddy, also named Dick? Did the dog read? did he write? That would be something, I mean if all these years later….half a century plus, Dick and Jane unknown, un heralded but Spot using a suitable nom de plume, a celebrated author. Just as likely a famous mathematician. His fame secured by the famous “Spot’s conjecture” his postulate, still unproven, that what is unknowable is also unknown. Sounds more like a conundrum than a conjecture or a postulate. Spot on a blanket in a basket rests and dreams of numbers. I dream of procedure. In my dreams I move between offices getting stamps and signatures and filling out forms. It never ends, the procedure, the paperwork, the run around. I’d say it was in the mode of Kafka but I’m above dropping famous literary names. I lie. I’ve dropped two so far. Might as well make a trio of dropped names….Sholokhov. Why are there so many really good Russian writers? And Russian bombers from the 1950’s?
Grad students from the state agricultural college came to the family finca years ago to collect acorns. The nuts had fallen from a tree. The tree is unique, the students said. Years later a tree surgeon came to do amputations. A white oak he said as he staunched the sap. A mighty oak. An ancient oak. A tree with more nobility than most. I’ve received attention too. A couple of doctors watch me for signs of demise. Squirrels run along my limbs, jabbering at and chasing one another. My sap doesn’t flow as it did. Nature’s plans for me have run their course. I’ve no hope of being incorporated into furniture. Its all pressboard and vinyl now. Fine joinery and polished contours al la Louis Cat Hors are never to be my lot. I’ll rot. I’m not worth the preservative. Shelac and Saudi Arabian varnish for the Oak, Formaldehide for me. In a jar high on the dusty shelves in a museum of medical curiosities. Maybe we’ll be neighbors again, the oak and me. He or she (who can sex a tree) sitting as a chair and being sat upon. By visitors. “See that brain preserved in a jar?” the curator asks the visitor. He stands. The visitor sits. The visitor is thinking of the chair. Its a fine chair. It receives their ass so well. “Yes, I see it”. A polite lie because that top shelf is dark and there are hundreds of pickled brains upon it. Countless brains and not a single thought among them. Once they held so many words and images. When prompted they could recite words in ancient order or mix them up and call it new. They once were able to restructure both image and word. No more. So proud they were of the new order they’d given to letter and line. “Hey!, look here” their message buzzed along the wires. “Looked at this new sequence of letters!” Electrons, which never wear out, carried then stored the tokens. People in far off places extracted the tokens and smiled or frowned. No more. Burning is what we need, the oak and I. Burning down to ash. Good for the soil.
The meme was bouncing off the walls of the rubber room we call the internet. It postulated that a vaccine for Covid would magnetize the forehead of the shot’s recipient. Presumably the grey matter behind the forehead…ie, the brain. OK, I thought, I’d better postpone that MRI scan. Don’t want dueling magnets in my cerebrum or Sara Bella. Enough activity going on there now. My good fortune is that I have plenty of magnets on hand. Ready to fight the scourge, our age’s “Magnetic Moment”. For triage Add to the hand held IR forehead temp scanner the magnetic compass. Good thing too. The vaccinated will influence the pointer, throwing it off North. The unvaccinated will not. Just in time too! what with fake vaccination cards being offered. But there is more! Not only does this amazing dose of J and J or Pfizer make magnets of brains, it also makes brass keys magnetic! This is in its way even more fantastic. But there on the web was the evidence. A woman demonstrated by putting a key on her forehead. It STUCK !, well sort of. There might have been interference caused by the presence of non believers. The key at times slid off. The take away here is that brass near the vaccinated person develops ferromagnetic properties! Wow, the mind (now magnetic) boggles! What possibilities this opens up. The keys we once tossed into a jar on the kitchen counter can now be tossed at the fridge, joining the magnetic poetry. Magnetism has long been popular with the fuzzy minded posse. They sometimes confuse it with gravity. Not surprising since the “so called” experts, the physicists, can’t explain gravity. Distortion of space time? Duh, who is going to fall for that dodge? Not the person with brass keys stuck to their magnetic skull.
its great when your government is so sensitive to a citizen’s needs and desires that it can anticipate their bucket list. Not just anticipate an item to be obtained or accomplished before the proverbial bucket gets kicked by the Vaca del destino but to supply the needed cash. My government has done just that. As rich uncles often do, my Uncle Sam, let me fill in the order…in this case for a Nikon camera. I have had a camera since I was ten. My parents were both into photography so I had first dibs on old cameras. Over the years, these seven decades, I have use a dozen different cameras. A few viewfinders & the rest SLR’s. I had the top brands but never a Nikon. With me its a given that Nikon makes the best. So being able to go out into the photo op filled world with a state of the art camera is really something…to me. Might leave you cold, but me…its good. There was a virus involved in the chain of events that landed me the Nikon but the details of it all blur. The specific Nikon is one of the new line, the Z series. Mine, the Z5 with a 24-200mm f4/5.6 lens. To be ordered soon is an add on lens. A fish eye/macro. It goes in front of the 24-200 lens. With it I can make bugs 5,000 pixels wide or capture half a mall in one frame. I’ve taken it to one baseball game in the month I’ve had it. Every shot with a ball in motion froze the ball right at the perfect point in the composition. Weird – but I’ll take it. The graphics processor that crunches the numbers from the 24 Megapixel imager might have an algorithm for baseballs. It has one for eyes and smiles. As with other examples of masterful design it is a deep well of function but a beginner using it on automatic does fine right off the bat.
The incentives keep rolling out. In one state get the jab, (the shot of vaccine) and win a gun. In other states do the right thing, (roll up your sleeve) and win a million $$. I guess then you buy a gun. Now with the biggest brewer in the nation joining in, vaccinate and inebriate and fire your AK-47 at the zenith to celebrate 70% vaccination rate in the USA. What do guns have to do with Corvid vaccine? good question. What do cold frosty mugs of “brewski” have to do with a Corona virus? Well, from what I can gather from the headlines (pay walls keep me from reading more) all this is a sign of the decay of social cohesion. Gun sales are at an all time high. I’ll point my gun at you but I’m not going to roll up my sleeve to save your grand mother’s life. Not to save anyone’s life. I don’t believe in….fill in the blank, virus, vaccine, Fauci, the tooth fairy. But I do believe in beer, guns and money. My fellow citizen? Don’t trust him. Not since that Biden sign on his lawn last year. That’s what the gun is for. Once, when we all got along, fences made good neighbors. Now the Kalashnikov does the trick. As Mao famously never said, “Citizenship grows from the barrel of a gun” Or was that Eldridge Cleaver referring to another orifice? Whichever, its too late for me, I vaccinated early and got cheated out of my beer, my gun, my million $ prize. Life is NOT fair.
You’ve got an exercise machine. The first month you had it you rode an hour a day. Your feeling of guilt about being out of shape and overweight faded as you peddled mile after imaginary mile. After a few weeks you moved a large flat screen monitor so you could watch as you rode. Then you mounted a drink cup holder to the machine handles. With that and a long straw you could sip as you worked out. The hour a day starts to dwindle, soon its half an hour, then a quarter hour. At each point you had a rationale for doing less. Eventually the exercise bike becomes a hat rack and disappears under its load of coats and jackets.
One day, at the office, someone explains the concept of white privilege to you. You’ve often wondered why more of you co-workers were not people of color. Now you understand. You’ve taken their job!, not by being more qualified but simply because of your race. Your advantage, your privilege, is unearned! You feel great shame, guilt. You look for ways to expiate the guilt but it only grows. In some religions, those believing we are born guilty, there are rituals of atonement. Self flagellation, ritual cutting and lacerating of the flesh, then parading thru towns with others. A procession of bleeding penitents descending into valleys, winding thru villages, ascending ridges. More practical in rural Sicily than Manhattan. What is an urban office worker to do? Just as there are machines to assuage the guilt of flabby flesh and lack of exercise – there is one to automate expiation. Introducing the Flail-o-tron. flailing one’s self is difficult and ineffective. Having a machine, fully programmable, do the flailing, is the answer.
Note for those without irony/nuance skills. Beating yourself up for perceived privilege does nothing to prevent black citizens being beaten up by racist cops. Nothing. Its another empty gesture. This so called “privilege” is only what’s due a citizen, all citizens, their rights under the law. The denial of those rights to part of the population because of deep seated racism hasn’t been caused by you. You got the job and your black brother didn’t, when he was more qualified, not because of your action, but because of the employer’s attitude. In 1968 when I was a young man, many cops felt they could beat up anyone with long hair. It was perceived as anti war and liberal. Society gave cops the idea that it was OK. Change society at its root. Anything else is window dressing.
When hip was in I was out. When the cool ruled I was uncool. In my old age I have decided to finally get myself ahead of the curve, in front of the trend, In with the IN crowd. I have purchased a nonfungible banana peel. At the point where Art, Grift and Technology meet you’ll find the NFT, the Nonfungible Token. Its a number. Hashed out of the meta data for an image, in this case one of a banana peel. They’re not cheap. I had to sell my house and cash in my retirement as well as beg the seller for a veteran’s discount (10%) but the day came when I too was the owner of a NFT. Proud isn’t the word for how I feel to be at long last among the spacchuiso. Ya I live in a box on the edge of the park now. My wheels are a stolen supermarket cart. I don’t eat regular, but that hasn’t affected my apatite. Soon as I’m back on my feet again I plan on acquiring more fruit themed NFT’s. Reduced to a number these banana peels and melon rinds don’t decay producing a stench…but something smells about all this. Ah yes, its the smell of $$