Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fatima, Flu, And The Great Technician

God is supertechnological, not supernatural.

So declares R.L. Dione in his 1969 book, God Drives A Flying Saucer. To read this work is to witness the workings of a rare mind.

Dione doesn’t connect the dots; he just jams them together, forming one big black hole. The intense gravitational pull of his theory makes everything fit.

Chapter 6 is typical of how Dione works with information at hand. He discusses the miracles at Fatima in terms of advanced science, God the great ET technician using his alien devices to deceive the simpleminded human masses.

In the years 1916 and 1917 strange things were happening near a remote Portuguese village. Three children made contact with beings from the Catholic heaven: first, an angel, followed by the Blessed Virgin Mary. The young experiencers ranged in age from nine to six. The oldest, Lucia, would live on for many years after the amazing encounters while her younger friends, Francisco and Jacinta, would be dead in less than two years.

One day Lucia and her friends were tending sheep on the slopes above the village of Fatima when a ball of light approached and enveloped them. Inside the unearthly glow they saw a luminous figure that claimed to be the Angel of Peace. This figure offered the usual messages from heaven.

During his third visit, the angel performed the ritual of Communion, having Francisco and his sister Jacinta drink from the chalice while excluding Lucia. The younger children were also exposed to intense light rays. At this moment Lucia knew that her friends would be soon called to heaven.

Dione explains these encounters as UFO events, the aliens aboard the craft using technology to induce a hypnotic state in the children.

In the spring of 1917 the Blessed Virgin Mary visited the children. She offered the usual blessings and warnings from heaven. Unlike the Angel of Peace who popped up whenever, she announced her schedule, telling the children to expect her at the same time and place on the thirteenth of each month.

Only the three children could see her. When word of the encounters spread, others showed up on the scene, but all they saw was a cloud hovering over a tree. The crowd grew with each encounter.

On the day of the BVM’s final visit seventy thousand people were in attendance. The weather was overcast and drizzly. The onlookers were wet, feet covered with mud. As promised the BVM performed a showstopper of a miracle: the sun seemed to dance and spin in the sky, dropping towards the crowd which was bathed in a spectrum of colors. Suddenly the sun stopped and returned to its normal spot in the sky. After they gathered their wits, the onlookers noticed that their clothing was now dry.

Dione rules out mass hallucination because of this detail, the dried clothes. He claims that a flying saucer produced the illusion of the descending sun, the true sun hidden by overcast created by the “saucerians.” The craft also acted as a remote super duper clothes dryer.

As the overcast disappeared, the saucer kept in line with the true sun, using the intense solar glare to hide its departure. The switcheroo was a clever magic trick but one done with science, not supernatural power.

While this explanation of what happened at Fatima seems fairly reasonable, especially to someone who prefers science (fiction) over the supernatural, Dione really jams the dots together with other aspects of this case.

He refers to “radioactive radiation,” explaining that radiation exposure can weakened a person’s resistance to disease. OK, that’s a fact, another dot of info. More dots: many people around the world died during the outbreak of Spanish influenza in 1918. Two of the young children who saw the BVM at Fatima, Francisco and Jacinta, died during the pandemic. Also, they, not Lucia, drank from the Communion chalice offered by the angel and then were exposed to bright rays of light. (Maybe the last two details could be labeled as a “facts.”)

Time to jam the dots. Dione claims the chalice was filled with flu virus. Francisco and his sister were exposed to radiation to make sure the virus would take by weakening their immune systems. When the great crowds showed up for the BVM visits, they were exposed to the young vectors. Immunity-weakening radiation from a flying saucer assured that many in the crowd would die from the Spanish flu.

But Dione doesn’t explain why God – an alien who supposedly would be wise and rational – committed such a terrible act.

Apparently the Great Technician moves in mysterious ways.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Gnat Of A Theory

Professional sports. Tribalism for profit. Ho-hum.

Despite my indifference, useless bits of sports info manage to seep in and stay. For example, I know that one baseball team, the Yankees, didn’t make it into the final two spots this year. The team’s totem is a phallic wooden club shoved inside a top hat (another useless bit of sports info).

Totems are supposed to grant supernatural power to a tribe. Apparently the Yankee’s silly symbol served them well in the past but has lost its mojo. It’s piss poor magic when a totem can’t ward off the simplest of God’s creatures.

During the league playoffs gnats swarmed around the head of the Yankee pitcher, disturbing his concentration. The pitcher was covered with bug spray to keep the tiny devils away. But to no avail: the gnats kept swarming and the Wood-Phallus-In-Top-Hat team still lost.

So far no conspiracy theorists have come forth and speculated on what actually happened. That leaves the field wide open for me.

As science has progressed so have ways of cheating. Human growth hormone, anyone?

Maybe that rattled Yankee pitcher was the victim of scientific trickery, modern age mojo. Maybe someone sprayed his cap and uniform before the game with gnat pheromones.

Gnaturally, this is just crazy speculation, an idea way off base. But it’s more entertaining than sitting through a so-called “World” Series game (yawn).

(Photo: Amy Sancetta - Associated Press)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Circle Of The Elitist

Andrew Keen doesn’t like me. He doesn’t know me personally; he just hates me for what I am.

Why do I say that? Let’s look at a couple of typical passages from his book, the cult of the amateur – how today’s internet is killing our culture (2007).

Most amateur journalists are wannabe Matt Drudges—a pajama army of mostly anonymous, self-referential writers who exist not to report news but to spread gossip, sensationalize political scandal, display embarrassing photos of public figures, and link to stories on imaginative topics such as UFO sightings or 9/11 conspiracy theories. – Page 47

“So instead of a dictatorship of experts, we’ll have a dictatorship of idiots,” I might have responded. – Page 33

Yup, a pseudonymous blogger who writes about UFOs and other “imaginative topics” is destroying culture. Man, what a menace I am.

Keen is concerned that the Internet is too democratic; it’s not keeping the lowly rabble under control. He’s one of the privileged few who scorn the so-called mobocracy.

There are problems with the Internet, issues such as privacy, identity theft, scams, plagiarism, etc. In those areas Keen does raise some valid points, even though he fails to mention that such problems existed before the Net.

But his main attack is how the Net allows many to bypass the gatekeepers of mainstream media. He declares that mainstream gatekeepers are needed to decide for the unwashed masses what is valid and invalid. Bloggers like me are putting real journalists, publishers and editors out of work.

To some extent that is true. Tough shit. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve tried playing the game with getting published through traditional outlets. Thanks to the Internet I can reach an audience. And if my stuff sucks, no one will read it. Unlike what Mr. Keen thinks, the Net isn’t completely populated by idiots.

Mainstream media is taking a hit. Double tough shit. If the New York Times had done its job, questioning the “facts” offered by the White House before the invasion of Iraq, the US wouldn’t be mired down in a dead end war. Instead, it just printed what that neocon plant, Judith Miller, “reported” without a second thought.

Keen rants on about how you can’t trust everything on the Internet. But he never mentions how the same can apply to the lamestream media.

Keen goes on about “real” writers, how they have to be trained and nurtured by editors and other such gatekeepers. But the mainstream media is known for stifling true creativity. Publishers, TV and movie producers, etc. want a sure thing. They won’t touch a Stephen King or JK Rowling at first; such authors are too original, different. They won’t sell. But after one gatekeeper takes a chance and shows the way, everyone jumps in and starting imitating the flavor of the month. Then a new standard is established: if you’re not a King or Rowling, beat it, loser.

All that free content on the Net, rants Keen, is killing off true talent. Keen must regard himself as a real writer because Doubleday published his book. Of course, maybe some of his anger is stoked by the fact that free stuff is infringing on his turf. As a member in good standing of the select circle, he’s upset because the barbarians are pressing in from all sides. Let’s face it: if someone is reading Ray X for free, enjoying some common sense and straight talk, then he probably isn’t going to pay to read Andrew Keen’s professionally published spewing.

If you want to see what’s wrong with mainstream publishing, examine his book. A small hardcover, widely-spaced text, not that much meat for $22.95. Of course, I didn’t pay that price: I borrowed the book from the library. (Gee, I hope Keen doesn’t consider that “stealing” because I read his snooty whining without paying.)

Maybe I’m a lowly amateur, but it’s better than being a narrow-minded elitist.