Friday, September 29, 2006

Meanwhile, Back At The Dot Com…

For the last few days I have been having problems with Blogger. Apparently some of it is beyond their control, such as spammers messing up the system.

I’m not a very energetic person with a surfeit of mental power. That’s why I blog; I can handle one or two short items at a time.

So when I’m ready to publish, I can’t afford to waste time, trying to get my computer/ISP/hosting service to work properly. On a couple of occasions I could publish faster on my dot com than trying to get a post up here.

I do like Blogger. It’s free and so I shouldn’t be complaining. But I’ve been spoiled by the quality of their service. But when I want something done, I get impatient, wasting energy that could be spent elsewhere.

Anyway, I needed an eXcuse to revamp my dot com, . So now it includes a half-ass blog section called “X-Rays.” I’ve only written an intro to the new section. If I publish anything notable there, I’ll mention it here. And if something bad happens here at Blogger, My Purple Elephant forbid, I’ll have a backup. You may call me a control freak, but I’m someone who doesn’t have time to deal with bullshit. I already have enough, thank you.

My website also has an archive of my works in zine form. I do like blogging because I can work on short pieces and then pick among them what I want to format into a zine.

A UFO Conference Without Tinfoil Hats?

Call it a New Frontiers Symposium, with the subtitle of “Extraterrestrial Life, Space Exploration, & The Future” and maybe “they” will stay away.

As you work your way along the spectrum of human activities, straying away from the norm, you’re more apt to encounter “personalities” and “characters” than you would at more mainstream events. So I’m less surprised to find an eccentric at a comic book convention than I would at a writer’s conference. Comic book fans are more apt to dress up in outlandish costumes than aspiring writers – but even that isn’t a hard rule.

In his book, Shockingly Close To The Truth, Jim Moseley describes some of the notables who used to show up at the Giant Rock flying saucer conventions held in the Mojave Desert from 1954 through 1974. For example, there were Princess Negonna and Prince Neosom from the planet Tythan. And let’s not forget Connie Menger who claimed to have lived on Venus in a previous life. To borrow an appropriate phrase from Supreme Commander Moseley: Wheee!

Documentary filmmaker Paul Kimball wants to sponsor a more mainstream event with his 2006 New Frontiers Symposium. And I don’t blame him. While everyone is entitled to an opinion, no matter how “out there” it may be, Paul wants to move beyond a Giant Rock kooks-in-the-hot-desert-sun circus and show that ufology, despite its bad press, can be a topic for serious debate.

The symposium will be held in a couple of weeks on Saturday October 14, 2006, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. More info can be found at .

I have seen one of the scheduled speakers, Stanton Friedman, who spoke at Plattsburgh University a while ago. And from I know about the other speakers, it should be an interesting conference.

Just leave your tinfoil hat at the door.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bad TV Blast From The Past

Now here’s a memory trigger.

William Wise, over at his blog Rational Geek, mentioned that episodes of Project UFO are available for downloading from the Web. I hadn’t thought about that TV show for years –- and for good reason.

Project UFO followed the Sisyphean adventures of two bland investigators for Project Blue Book, the US Air Force department that handled flying saucer reports. Never mind that Blue Book was no longer in operation when the series was broadcast in 1978. The movie, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, was a hit at that time and so producer Jack Webb, Mr. Dragnet himself, could sell this turkey to NBC-TV.

And talk about special effects. One of the investigators recalled how he was aboard a bomber one time and the crew spotted an UFO. The plane chased after it. A crew member described the object during the pursuit, observing that the UFO was saucer-shaped with a metallic silver surface, no openings such as jet exhausts or windows. I noticed the guy didn’t mention the four white strings holding up the cheap model against the rear screen projection.

My favorite Project UFO episode: A married couple meets with the Blue Book investigators. They’ve had a terrifying experience. One foggy night they glimpsed something from their high-rise apartment. Eventually it comes out they saw bipedal aliens inside a spacecraft with horse-shaped heads. The husband exclaims: "So that's why we couldn't look at this!" He goes over to a painting hanging on a wall, the image hidden by a small sheet of cloth draped over it. He pulls off the sheet and –- DUM-DE-DUM-DUM (Dragnet music) -- there's a painted image of a horse's face!

Or so I remember. It's been a while, but I think I got the gist of the two episodes I’ve described. Anyway, it was a stupid series. They could never reveal anything, just leave it a mystery, week after week, slight variations on the same plotline: someone sees an UFO, Blue Book investigates, and it usually turns out that something weird is going on. That routine wore out quickly.

The opposite extreme to Project UFO and its one-plotline-for-every-episode was The X-Files where it just kept adding to the mystery, piling on more details regarding a great conspiracy lurking in the background, until it was a complete mess. All it needed was horse-headed aliens thrown in.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Devil In The Details?

Some conspiracy mongers believe that the presence of the Illuminati can be proven by the symbols it employs. When he was alive, radio personality Bill Cooper used to rant about how such symbols were hidden in plain sight, from the All-Seeing Eye on the dollar bill to a pyramid-shaped rooftop glimpsed during the opening credits of David Letterman’s late night talk show.

While visiting the state fair in Syracuse, NY, I noticed the detailed archway to the main entrance at the John Deere Horticulture Building. I wonder how Bill Cooper would have interpreted the sweeping, repetitive bands of flowers and bluebirds, what evil esoteric meanings lurked within their apparently innocent designs.

Let’s see, bluebirds. UN soldiers wear blue helmets. And the UN is a “wing” of the Illuminati that will be used to enslave the world under a New World Order. And as for the flowers, well, poppies, opium, drugs to keep the sheeple asleep. It all fits, don’t it?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Museum Of The Earth

The other day my friends took me to an interesting museum in Ithaca, NY. Of course, while I was there I took a few traditional journalistic images, but I also tried a few "artsy" shots.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Who’s This VIP?

So I’m hanging around the state fair in Syracuse one day, up on the second floor of a building where some artwork and photography was being displayed. I noticed a few people were looking out a window, excited that someone was going to make an appearance.

I waited for a while, finding a window that also looked out on the same spot. Then this middle-aged white-haired guy came out and was escorted through the crowd with a contingent of New York State Troopers and a special security force.

Hmmm, this visitor looks familiar but I just can’t place him. Must be because the window was kinda dirty and I didn’t get a clear shot with my compact digital camera. Can’t be anyone really important because no one hassled me about taking photos.

Does this guy look familiar to you? Maybe he was a judge for the Miss New York State Fair contest.