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Monday, November 11, 2019

Veteran's Day Ceremony

Last Friday my daughter invited me to a Veteran's ceremony at her school.  I have never been involved in any Veteran's organizations nor attended any event honoring them, either as an honoree nor as an audience participant.  I have attended a few 9/11 events but that is different.  September 11th was something which affected all Americans tangentially and thousands of us directly either because we knew people involved or because we were there, at or near the target sites.  We all remember.  Veteran's Day?  I am thankful for all those who have served our country, in any capacity, but I have never felt the need for anyone to pay homage to me.  I went to this event Friday because my daughter asked me.  That is what dads do.

I woke up around 4:30 that morning, as usual.  I popped out of bed, threw some logs on the fire, brewed a pot of coffee, and went down to the office to work for a few hours.  It was to be a short work day but a long day overall because I had a lot of errands and appointments and then I had plans to pick up one of my sons early from school and drive to northern New York State to hunt with a friend.  I showered and looked through my closet.  Do I wear a nice suit or some piece of Government Issued clothing?  A combination of the two?  Maybe jeans and a nice shirt with a Woodland Camo hat or jacket.  Or the nice suit with my Class A cap.  I put aside the fact that I have never thought it looked good to mix GI clothing and civilian clothing and went with a rule I once read which active soldiers are to abide by.  You do not mix an official uniform with civilian clothes.  I went with a nice blue suit.

I have been to many dozens of events at my kids' schools.  I often bring a travel mug of coffee.  This was an 8:00am thing so naturally I brought coffee.  That turned out to be a mistake.  When I arrived I was sent to the cafeteria where there was an urn of coffee and some disposable cups.  Maybe it was not good coffee.  Usually it is not.  Most people who make coffee for public consumption have no idea what the point of coffee is.  They make it in a way which suggests you are to add more to it, like a thin chicken broth waiting for some matzah balls to join the soup party.  Part of me was happy I brought the real stuff - real Army Motor Pool coffee.  Part of me regretted now having to carry around this black insulated canister.

My daughter arrived from homeroom and all the vets were lined up along the cafeteria wall with their escorts.  I realized I was one of the few people there who was the father of a student.  Most of the others seemed to be grandfathers or uncles.  There was one mother.  I surmised that people around here generally do not join the military unless they are drafted and there has not been a draft since Vietnam.

When I was a kid, the old timers at my dad's American Legion were World War II vets.  Sometimes you would make a mistake and ask a Korean War vet about WWII.  Now the old-timers are Vietnam vets and you may mistake a Korean War vet for one of them.  It is the forgotten war.  I looked like a young kid compared to most of these guys.

We stood there in the line for about ten minutes.  I joked with the guy ahead of me that it was just like being in the military, "Hurry up and wait!"  I told my daughter that in the Army, we did a lot of standing in line and then tried to explain why it was so funny that Forrest Gump remarks about standing in line everywhere when he visits Washington D.C. and ends up in a war protest.  I was unable to deliver the message in a way which made any sense to her.  I could see the blank look of a tween who is humoring their parent as best as possible without rolling their eyes.

After all the students in the school were seated the vets marched in to the auditorium to thunderous applause.  People hooted and whistled.  It seemed over the top for me but I rolled with it.  This is what it was.  It was a celebration.  I embraced it.

The ceremony included a number of short readings by kids who put considerable effort into writing thoughtful, heart-felt passages.  A small choir sang.  An orchestra played and then a marching band played.  There was a slide show featuring soldiers returning home from deployment, hugging their kids.  That choked me up but I held my composure.  Other strong, former military men were not able to hold back the tears.  No one could fault them for that.  It was touching.

Would I enlist again?

All this emotion brought back a flood of memories.  I tend to unintentionally block out my time in the Reserves.  I was in college and college was fun.  The Army was not as fun.  It was a pain in the butt.  I sometimes wonder why I did it.  I would assume that at one point or another everyone who has volunteered for the military has thought that.  With what I know now, would I sign up again?

Whenever I have asked myself that question I have always thought, yes, I would sign up again.  I did get a lot out of being in the military and feel this experience helped frame the person I am today.  I am also proud of having served my country.  That was the biggest reason I enlisted.  This was the Post-Vietnam or Pre-9/11 era when being in the military was a thankless job.  Some people still harbored negative sentiment towards soldiers for fighting in Vietnam, even though draftees had no choice.  It would take another decade and the worst terrorist attack on US soil before attitudes changed to what they are today.  I feel good about having had the courage to join in those days, when it simply was not a popular choice.

Still, would I enlist again?  Now that I have gone public with my UFO encounter I have allowed this event to spread its tentacles into my overall life experience.  What was once a traumatic chapter in a book that was closed, unfinished, and put up on a shelf, has now been dusted off and reopened.  Talking and writing about my close encounter has allowed me to shed the skin of trauma I once wore and to incorporate the story into my life's narrative.  At this veteran's ceremony on Friday, with emotions seeping from every crack in my hardened exterior, I once again examined the question, would I do it again?

I was sixteen years old when I decided to join the Army Reserves.  I was a new driver.  I had a curfew of 11:00 at night.  I needed permission to leave the house.  I was still a kid.  My dad was all-for me joining his reserve unit.  He received a financial reward for recruiting me.  I should have asked him to share it with me but then, he was feeding and housing me, so...  My mom was not as enthused with my choice but she was always supportive of anything I wanted to do.  She has been good like that.

Shortly after my seventeenth birthday, I signed my life away, with my parents' approval.  They had to sign too because I was under eighteen.  I say I signed my life away because I read the fine print.  Most new recruits file through quickly and sign whatever documents are put in front of them.  I stood there and read the contract.  The man who was stationed there shouted snidely, "What, you don't trust the government?"  In those days people were not as cynical about government as they are today.  It was not that I did not trust the government, I just wanted to know as much as possible about what I was getting myself into.

The contract said that I was committing myself to possibly giving up my life for my country.  It also said that even after I got out of the military, I could be called back into service in the event of a national emergency, for decades afterwards.  I want to say it was until age fifty but I do not recall for sure.  Most people do not know that.  I did.  Still, I signed the form.  I made a choice, just a bit over sixteen years of age, to possibly give my life to my country, at any point over the following three or four decades.

I did not make a choice to have a close encounter with an alien spaceship.  Who could have foreseen something like that?  In 1989 popular culture still debated whether or not Martians existed.  Science had concluded that Mars was likely a barren wasteland.  People were not as connected to information as we are today but most of my peers seemed to believe we were alone in the Universe.  The stars in the sky were not thought of as life-giving suns at the centers of other planetary systems.  They were our stars and all they did was twinkle for us.

Hollywood gave us Star Wars and E.T.  Our imaginations drank in these fantastic stories from the minds of science fiction writers.  But that was all they were, just stories.  Spaceships could not visit Earth because we did not have the technology to travel outside our solar system.  Obviously, if Man, the smartest creature that ever existed, could not travel to other planets, it was impossible.  And besides, there was nothing else out there.  It was just us and our twinkling stars.

From a young age, I have believed there was more.  But given the times in which I grew up, this belief did not enter the equation I was challenged to solve when I enlisted in the Army.  I would lay down my life for my country, if needed.  Would I defend a stack of ammunition from an alien spaceship?  Would I greet its occupants if they approached me?  Would I board the ship if ordered?  I could not have known these would even be questions, let alone think of what the answers would be.

My encounter ends with the sighting.  The ship I saw did not engage with me, though I have always thought this was due to the way I reacted.  Had I not remained still, had I approached the vessel, things may have gone differently.  Nonetheless, it was the most traumatic event of a life now filled with amazing adventures.  How would having this knowledge, this foresight, affect my decision to sign that enlistment contract?

It is easy for me to look back and say I would do it again.  Now that I have moved on to an Acceptance phase where I am no longer haunted by this event I am happy it happened.  I have never felt special about anything.  This was pretty special.  It was cool - in hindsight.  What would sixteen year old me have thought about it?

This was the question I contemplated Friday morning, sitting in the auditorium of my daughter's school.  What would sixteen year old me have thought about committing myself to one day being alone, deep in a thick forest, armed with an M-16 with no bullets, about a hundred yards from an enormous alien spaceship?

Sixteen year old me would have been terrified by this thought.

It had only been a few years since I was able to sleep without a nightlight.  I avoided conflict, most often backing down from a challenge.  I shied away from bullies.  I am a much different person today, fearing no one and no thing.  Nothing.  But that was not who I was at sixteen.  Would the advanced knowledge of an alien encounter cause me to rethink my enlistment in the military?  You bet your life it would.  But what would my ultimate decision be?

Overcoming Trauma

All the veterans were called up onto the stage, along with our escorts.  I now felt really stupid carrying my travel mug.  I set it down on the arm of my seat, hoping it would still be there when I got back rather than getting knocked over and rolling under all the seats, with the clanking of metal on concrete.  I hoped I would get the same seat back and not have to reach over or ask someone to hand me my drink.  On the stage, my daughter put a hand-made paper "medal" around my neck which read "Hero."  I do not think that term applies to me.  I never saw combat.  Not to take anything away from anyone else who was in a support role.  Every soldier is important.  I just do not think I am in the same league as people who have been shot at.  The reason I am honored in November instead of in May is because I was lucky enough to not be deployed to the front lines in any conflicts.  I am not looking for any special treatment.  But I accepted my medal, hugged my daughter, and thanked her.

My travel mug was still in my seat and I got the same seat back.  It was only upon exiting the auditorium that I noticed the NO FOOD OR DRINK sign on the door.  Oh well.  Back in the cafeteria there was a nice spread waiting for us.  I grabbed a glazed doughnut and some fruit.  I then wished I had known there were Boston Creme doughnuts but I did not want to put back the glazed doughnut and I am not a schnorr so I walked away from the Boston Cremes, with buyer's remorse.

Would I do it again?  No.  The next time I would walk right by that glazed doughnut and see if there were any Boston Cremes.  It makes that much of a difference to me.  Would I enlist in the Army again, knowing that it would mean experiencing fear to the depths which few people could ever imagine and which no words can do justice?


Yes, I would put myself through that all over again but not just so I could say I had a close encounter with an alien spaceship.  If sixteen year old me could have known that overcoming trauma from doing so would transform me from the person who avoided risk at any cost into someone who walks through life's darkest caves, whistling with his hands in his pockets, then yes.  For this, it was all worth it.

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If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) contact me using the Contact form on this page.  You may remain anonymous if you want.  I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong.  I get it, I saw one too.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Gravity Attraction

One year ago I posted an article titled, Well, how did they get here?  Anyone who was born before 1985 may recognize the paraphrasing from the Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime.  I have done that a couple times.  Those guys are awesome.  If you have never given them a chance, you are in for quite a shock.  I recommend starting off with the album 1977.  Digression acknowledged, this article is not about The Talking Heads (though I think I could pen a few thousand words about them, if I wanted).

Well, how did I get here?
David Byrne of The Talking Heads
Today's article is a follow up on that article from a year ago.  In it, I issued a challenge to the Scientific Community (whoever that is).  I gave my challenge a really cool name.  I called it, "The Marceau Contest."  Good one, huh?  Well, it is my contest so I get to name it.  Here is what it is:

How can we attract gravity?  Over the years, scientists and engineers have endeavored to repel gravity.  We think we have gotten pretty good at it.  But the methods are cumbersome and expensive.  We require tremendous amounts of thrust and lift, swirling engines, beating rotors.  It is loud and disruptive, like a house full of kids on the day after Halloween (not looking forward to that, in three days).  It consumes vast quantities of fuel and spews toxic exhaust into the air.  Human flight sucks.  We are really not good at it, after all.

Kids, the day after Halloween

Hold your horses, engineers and rocket scientists.  This is not a personal attack.  I am a tiny bit jealous of the folks who have committed themselves to improving these archaic methods of elevation.  It takes a brilliant mind to get an enormous vehicle, weighing thousands of pounds, to streak through the air.  But it is still archaic.  The Wheel set the course for modern times but it was many thousands of years before the rubber tire and shock absorber were invented.  We have a ways to go before we can say we have truly mastered flight.

In order to improve flight we need to figure out how aliens do it.  I am not talking about how they get from there to here, at the moment.  That is a different challenge (though it is possible the two are related).  Right now I am only talking about how UFOs are able to hover silently without the use of jet engines or propellers or wings.  Baby steps.  How do UFOs float inches above a treeline and not create a down-wash, like the ship I saw in Gagetown, New Brunswick?  What is their secret?

Gravity Attraction

My theory is, they are attracting gravity.  (It is as good a theory as any others I have heard, word.)  Human flight has always been focused on repelling gravity.  How do we fight physics and get ourselves off this spinning rock we live on?  But why fight physics?  Fighting never solved anything.  Well, that is not always true.  Sometimes two guys can duke it out and then have a beer together.  But not in this case.  There is a better way.  Rather than focusing on repelling gravity we should work on attracting it - not the gravity here on Earth, but elsewhere.  Out in space, there are greater sources of gravity than the Earth's.  They are just so far away that Earth's pull is relatively stronger.  If one were to break away from Earth's pull, the Sun would have a stronger attraction.  What if we could lock on to that, from right here on Earth?

The Marceau Ship
The spaceship from The Gagetown Incident
What if humans figured out a way to lock on to the gravitational pull of the Sun and use it to attract a spacecraft?  We could use that force to propel ourselves towards the sun in an instant, no?  I believe that something like that is happening when UFOs shoot off into space.  The other witness to my sighting, Mike, said the ship we saw shot off into space in a streak of light, like when spaceships go into hyperspace in the movies.  If he had blinked he would have missed it.  Perhaps that ship locked on to a distant star, back in its home solar system, and used its massive gravitational pull to attract the ship instantly back home.

There may need to also be some manipulation of the fabric of space and time, in association with that, which is why I am not focusing on that part right now.  The first step we need to solve is the gravitational attraction for the purpose of elevation, here on Earth.  How can we get an aircraft to hover without any physical means of propulsion?  How we can attract the gravitational pull of sources which are stronger than the Earth's gravity but farther away?  This is the Marceau Contest.

Crazy Jonny
Good ole Jonny
When I first issued this challenge a year ago, I offered a dollar to the person who could solve this puzzle.  Apparently that was not enticing enough for anyone to drop what they were doing and get on this.  I am not sure why.  Right after college I moved to Los Angeles for a few months and I had a friend there whom some people called "Crazy Jonny."   Jonny jumped over the railing of a second story balcony into the court yard below, landing in the swimming pool, fully clothed, on a dare.  No money was involved - just a dare.  Jonny did not even look over the railing to make sure he would clear the sidewalk.  He just hopped over.  He came back upstairs soaking wet, in all his clothes.  I am sure Jonny would join the Marceau Contest for a dollar.  But clearly, Jonny was no rocket scientist.  I have not talked to Jonny in about twenty-five years.  He is probably in jail right now.  Good guy, though.

So a dollar ain't enough, huh?  I also offered an Archway molasses cookie as a second place prize if my youngest son could prove his Dark Matter (or as he calls it, "Black Matter") theory first.  The scientific community will be overjoyed to hear that my son is more interested in Hot Wheels playset reviews on YouTube than Dark Matter, at the moment, so both the dollar and the molasses cookie are up for grabs.  But not everyone likes molasses.  I get it.  And a dollar does not go too far.  You cannot even buy a Mountain Dew to fuel your scientific studies, for a dollar, anymore.  So I will sweeten the pot, so to speak, with a new prize: a box of Ring Dings.  Yes, you read that correctly, not one Ring Ding, a whole box of Ring Dings.  I have a connection; one of my students has a brother who owns a route and he hooked me up with a free box.  I could get another.

Ring Dings
Possibly the only treat better than a molasses cookie
I will revisit this contest in another year to update everyone on the progress Science has made.  In the meantime, keep your eye on the sky and your cameras ready.  Oh, and make sure you look over the railing before hopping over, into the pool.

Enjoying this blog?
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If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) contact me using the Contact form on this page.  You may remain anonymous if you want.  I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong.  I get it, I saw one too.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Could Aliens Buy America?

We Americans live in a beautiful country.  Here in Southern New England we have rolling hills covered in deciduous trees, dotted with middle class homes and large estates.  There are abundant fish in our clean(ish) rivers, places to hike and bike, and sandy beaches with gentle waves.  Further north we have the evergreen-carpeted Adirondack, Green, and White Mountain ranges.  To the west we have nearly every type of topography and geographic features on Earth, all in one country.  We are lucky to live in such a place.

The Beauty of Connecticut
The Beauty of Connecticut

Sometimes I think about how this all came to be.  There were other people living here before our European forefathers established this country.  For the most part, these aboriginal inhabitants did not believe in the concept of land ownership the way we think of it, although they did respect territorial boundaries.  They did not believe in the rule of law, as imposed by a federal government.  Everything was more localized.  Rules applied to your extended family or what we often refer to as a "tribe".  Your land was shared with members of the family and owned by the whole community.  What did these people think when pale-faced men with muskets spoke with them about acquiring some of this land?

Much is said about how the White Man "stole" this land from the Indians.  Yes, that happened; in many places people were forced to pack up and move, under harsh conditions.  With the exception of the Dutch, if a European felt they "discovered" some land they tended to plant a flag on it and it then belonged to them.  But not everyone, everywhere, was like that.  Here in New England, in the earliest days of Colonial America, there were deals.  Land was purchased.  Treaties were signed.  There was an attempt at doing things the right way, whatever that meant.

In my state of Connecticut, there is great pride in the story of the founding of the town of Ridgefield.  Local history expert, Jack Sanders, spoke with me about some men from down the hill in Norwalk and Milford, now known as "The Proprietors."  These men came up to the village of Ramapo and negotiated with a Sachem, Chief Katonah (a.k.a Catoonah).  They paid the Sachem 100 Pounds Sterling for 20,000 acres of his people's land to create my town, Ridgefield.

This got me thinking - what if aliens came down and offered one of our leaders some sum of money to buy some land?

Could Aliens Buy America?

It seems impossible, at first glimpse.  But roll with me on this one.  Sanders tells me there is no historical documentation in the official town records of how Katonah's Ramapoo people felt about their Sachem's sale of their land.  New England Pre-history Archaeologist Lynn-Marie Wieland was able to shed some light on this for me.

Wieland tells me, by the late 1600's the Indians of New England had been completely decimated by disease.  Those who survived had a reckoning of their situation.  They embarked on a long process of consolidating their land holdings.  By this point they had learned the White Man's concept of land ownership and would often sell portions of their lands.  They sat on so much land and there were so few people left on it, it must have seemed like a no-brainer to cut their losses and get some money or goods (guns, coats, tools, etc.) for it. 

Sometimes, Wieland says, they would sell the same piece of land over and over.  I suppose, if you do not believe in our concept of land ownership in the first place this might seem like a funny joke to play on people - kind of like selling someone the Brooklyn Bridge.  More likely though, Wieland says, while the Indians knew they had sold the land, their concept of the deals was more like they were renting the land to the White Man and if the buyers did not continually occupy and improve the land, the Indians would simply reclaim it.

There is no record of how Katonah dispersed his 100 Pounds amongst his people, if at all.  However, history tells us that keeping the money for himself would have been considered unthinkable.  Wieland explains, "among hunter/gatherers, the person most admired is the one who shares his wealth with his community."  The funds were probably distributed in an equitable manner, although no one knows for sure.  Katonah could have kept more for himself or he could have given some hush money to dissenters.  While the cultures of many Indian people were very different from those of their new European neighbors, people are people.  The funds could have been distributed in any manner Katonah saw fit.

Little is recorded indicating whether or not Katonah was even endowed with the authority to make the sale.  However, the deal was signed by several others of his people, along with a few other outside witnesses (John W. DeForest, 1851. History of the Indians of Connecticut from the Earliest Known Period to 1850, Connecticut Historical Society) and Wieland says it was probably authorized by every adult male in Katonah's community.

Chief Katonah was offered, what to him must have seemed like a fortune, to pack up and go elsewhere.  And there was plenty of land available over in what would eventually become the town of Katonah, New York.  (You see what he did, there?)  So why not?

Ridgefield today on left, Wappinger village of Ramapo in 1665 on right.  
Katonah, NY is just west of Cross River.
Much of Rt. 7 from Massachusetts to the Long Island Sound 
was once the Berkshire Path, an Indian foot path.
This begs the question.  If someone of dubious authority can sell the land out from under his people, to "alien" settlers, just 300 years ago, could it happen again?  I say, "dubious authority" because before Europeans came here there were no deeds certifying land ownership.  There were no surveys or maps.  The Indians were able to sell their land because Europeans said so.  We brought our concept of land ownership over here and imposed it upon them.  So could something like that happen again?  Could people from another place come here, make a deal with an authority figure, and boot us off our land?  I think so.

But wait, you say, we have laws against that.  Yes, we have laws against that.  But aliens may not.  I believe that when Chief Katonah stood before his people, laden with silver, at least one of these folks must have stood up and said, in his best John Mulaney voice, "Excuse me, um... Chief... you did wha...?"  There had to be some people who disagreed with the sale.  This is beautiful country.  Some people must have said, "Well, I ain't goin'!" 

You did wha...?
Wieland says yes indeed, some people did stay.  Whether it was because they did not support the sale, or not, is unknown.  Katonah was listed on the deed as being from New York so most of the family or tribe may have already left by then.  But I am imagining a conversation in one home that went something like this:

Husband: Land is sold.  We should start packin' up.
Wife: Why, is someone moving here?  To this very spot?
Husband: Um, this spot?  I don't know.
Wife: OK then, we'll stay until they tell us to leave.
Husband: Well, we should really...
Wife: We'll stay until they tell us to leave!
Husband: Yes, dear.

For the folks who stayed in the new town of Ridgefield after the rest of their Ramapoo people moved west, they would have found that things changed for them pretty quickly.  Suddenly, there were once familiar places which now had fences around them, barring entry.  Old paths were widened to allow horse-drawn carriages to pass while other paths were blocked by houses or fences.  If you came across berries or wild fruit trees you may not be permitted to pick them because they were on someone else's private property.  Hunting was restricted.  "What have they done to my land!" they would have thought.

The Ramapoo who stayed would have found themselves living under the legal jurisdiction of an alien power they did not recognize as theirs.  But like it or not, they were forced to abide by this new rule of law.  What, you do not like it?  Perhaps you would like to put on these shackles and visit the Magistrate with me.  Or perhaps you would like to speak into the barrel of my musket.  I can get the constable or even a militia to help me, if needed.

Could it happen again?

Let us bypass the question of, "Could Aliens Buy America?" and keep it more simple.  Could aliens buy my house?  Why not?  As long as the check clears.  My neighbors would probably be pissed.  They would be like, "Aliens!  There goes the neighborhood."

For Sale signs would go up all over the place.  Pretty soon, more aliens would move in.  Eventually this would become an alien neighborhood.  At least, this is the pattern which has been repeated over and over again when one ethnic group starts to move into another ethnically homogeneous neighborhood, all across America.

Why would it be different if aliens moved here?  Sure, at first it would be novel to live next door to the alien family.  The conversations over the hedgerow would be interesting and thought-provoking.  But once they started to cook their strange-smelling foods, park their old beat-up spaceships on cinder blocks in the back yard, and blast their alien music at all hours of the night, people would bolt.  I am not making this up, it happens time after time, not with aliens, but there is no reason to believe it would be different with them.  People are people.

 The Indians of old Ridgefield

The Indians who sold Ridgefield to the Proprietors are sometimes referred to locally as the Lanape.  Wieland says decedents of these people prefer to be called Ramapoo.  They belonged to the Wappinger Indians who were related to the Lanape.

In total, there were nine transactions which together created the current town as we know it.  Some people stayed in the town, sometimes re-selling the same land more than once.  Others moved on to Katonah, NY with their Sachem.  Others relocated in between, to Lake Kitchawan.

Wikipedia reports that some of these people moved even further west and settled in what are now the Ramapo Mountains of New Jersey.  Though, Wieland indicated this may not be true.

Once a certain area became an enclave of alien people, they might be inclined to buy up the whole darned town.  Indeed, if I could afford it, I would not mind owning this town.  It is a nice town.  If you had the ability to travel from there to here, perhaps hundreds of light-years or more, would you come with an empty wallet?  Probably not.  More likely, you would come with some form of currency which the native people would accept and then you would start bargain hunting.

Not too long ago, it was possible for a Westerner to travel to a developing country and pay a paltry sum for all types of native wares, with both parties of the transaction believing they got a great deal.  Indeed, the other day one of my students in a business course I teach told me he recently went home to his native Egypt and pulled out an American one hundred dollar bill in a marketplace.  Shop-keepers closed off the markets so he could shop, undisturbed.  Certainly the same would be true of any transaction conducted with aliens.  They would come with today's equivalent of 100 Pounds Sterling and buy up our land - perhaps the whole town.

After securing a foothold here, aliens would then be free to start making their own rules.  One would think they might adopt our democratic ways and hold a referendum which the people would vote on.  But why would they have to do that when they could simply say, "This is our town, we make our own rules."  That is what the people of Ridgefield did when they bought this land from the Ramapoo.  They did not care what existing rules the Ramapoo had.  They did not care what the Ramapoo's system of rule-making was.  They bought the land and they were going to impose their Common Law system on all people living in it.

It was not just the local town laws which applied either, 300 years ago.  Anyone living in the colony of Connecticut would have been subject to the laws of its governor.  Europeans did not ask the Indians if they wanted this land to be called Connecticut and if they wanted to live under its colonial laws.  They just drew a boundary on a map and said to the Governor, "This is the colony of Connecticut.  Go govern it."  Many of the local Indians and the coastal Algonquians to the east would not discover they were living in someone else's country, under someone else's laws, for decades.

Perhaps, somewhere on another planet, leaders have drawn lines on a map around all of New England and said to one of their people, "This is New Glaxon.  Go rule it."  We could, right at this moment, be living under the jurisdiction of an alien power and not even know it.  Perhaps they have drawn a line around all of North America.

That being the case, what would then stop an alien power from doing what Europeans did to Indians?  I am not saying they would come here and force us off our land and commit genocide - not at first, anyway.  They might just come and try to buy the land, either house by house, or entire towns, states, even countries.  Along the way, we might be exposed to their alien diseases, just like the Indians.

Forget about our existing laws, because aliens would not necessarily recognize them - Europeans did not recognize Indian rules, why would aliens recognize ours?  With that in mind, an alien emissary could feasibly walk into the White House and offer our president, say, one trillion dollars (perhaps in some other currency but still the equivalent of a trillion dollars).  Would the president sell us out for a trillion bucks?  The speculative answer to that question probably depends on which side of the political aisle you stand on.  But suppose he did.

The president of the United States is not endowed with the authority to sell our country to aliens.  There is no land deed that I know of which bestows ownership of the entire country onto any one person.  Also the people living here would not stand for it.  But he could still take the money, either willingly or under duress.  Perhaps they will make him an offer he couldn't refuse.

I made him an offer he couldn't refuse
Or perhaps aliens would first come and (inadvertently or purposely) infect us with alien diseases we cannot fight off, leaving our population decimated and our economy in shambles - like Europeans did to the Indians!  Would our leader want to put in the hard work to rebuild a ruined country, infiltrated and overrun with amok aliens, or would he prefer to cut his losses, take the cash, and move on to greener pastures, like Chief Katonah did.  Depends on the president.

Just to legitimize the deal, the president might offer each of his cabinet members a billion dollars to also sign the deal.  The heads of the opposition party each get five billion, to look the other way.  They all then relocate to the Bahamas or various other hospitable places, and name those places after themselves, à la Katonah, New York.

Once that alien document was signed by all the heads of the country, once the deed to our land was in their long spindly hands, aliens would have the ability to say the deal abides by the terms of their legal system (which unbeknownst to us had been superimposed over our legal system when their maps had been overlaid on our maps).  

At that point, all humans in the country would fall under the rule of the new governor.  What, you do not like it?  Perhaps you would like to put on these shackles and visit the Magistrate with me.  Or perhaps you would like to speak into the barrel of my death ray.  I can get the constable or even a fleet of killer spaceships to help me, if needed.

Enjoying this blog?
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If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) contact me using the Contact form on this page.  You may remain anonymous if you want.  I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong.  I get it, I saw one too.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Great Conspiracy Conspiracy

Last week I posted my first blog article in a while.  I had taken the summer off from blogging in order to focus on business and also some other writing projects.  The primary reason I am writing again is simply because some time has freed up, with the family all back to school now.  But as a wise old Jedi once said, "There is another."  Another reason, that is.

My mental image of "Book Launching"
Back in June of this year one of my neighbors, Rich Cohen, released his latest book The Last Pirate of New York.   He announced on social media and personal email that he was "launching" his new book.  That brought a couple images to mind.  One was of a book, duct taped to the top of a rocket, hurling into space at 18,000 miles per hour.  The other was something like the video below, but with a book.

Rich is a good guy and is good friends with some of my good friends.   So when he announced he would be hosting a book launching event, I thought it would be nice to go out and help the neighbor down the street celebrate a major accomplishment.  I also had some selfish reasons - being a would-be writer myself, I wanted to pick his brain on a few things.

I marked my calendar for June 6th at 7:00pm.  Unfortunately, I could not make the book reading part of the event because it conflicted with one of my kids' school concerts.  I was disappointed because the first five attendees to Rich's event were promised, "a free Mr. Microphone, which you can use to impress your friends!"

Dumb Stunts

In all sincerity, who does not like to impress their friends?  When I was a kid, the kids in my neighborhood used to build a lot of ramps to jump our bikes off of.  We would gather up whatever scrap wood our dads had lying around in a tool shed, the rafters of a garage, or under a porch, prop them up with a bigger piece of wood, or a log, or cinder block, whatever we could find, and race over them as fast as we could peddle.  We wore no helmets or pads back then and our bikes weighed like 200 pounds.  It is a wonder any of us survived.

Mr. Microphone
Impress your friends!
It only took a few inches of drop to get several feet of air if you went really fast and then picked up your front wheel as you went over.  Sometimes you would land on the back wheel and see how long you could do a wheelie.  Sometimes you crashed, got right up, and did it again.  We would do this for hours.

This one time, my next-door neighbor Jared and I had a little too much idle time on our hands and we "went to town" on a mega ramp.  We built this sucker up to a height of about four feet.  We were barely four feet tall ourselves so I do not know what we were thinking.  But it was a fun challenge to build and we had a good time doing it.  And then?  Well, if you build it they will jump.  Someone had to go off it.  But who would accept such a daring challenge?  I wonder who?

I mentioned in my last article that when I was younger I often had more courage than common sense.  And this is such a case.  I wanted to be the kid that made it off the four-foot ramp.  Kids in the neighborhood would be talking about this for days, maybe weeks.  It would be legendary.  Years later, movies would be based on the event.  I would go down in history.

I probably did not think any of that, at the time.  I just thought it would be fun to jump the ramp.  Maybe people would think I was cool, but that was subordinate to the thrill of flight.  I envisioned myself flying through the air, several feet off the ground and then locking the brakes and skidding to a stop in a cloud of dust.  That would be cool.

Evel Knievel Jumping Snake Canyon
My jump, in my mind
So I rode my Huffy BMX bike with the overstuffed next-generation banana seat, to the end of the long driveway, turned around, and stood astride my ride, looking ahead at my challenge.  I studied the vert and the drop, like The Terminator assessing a threat.  I looked at the spectators standing a little too close to the ramp.  I shouted, "Back up, everybody!"  They did - like all kids when you tell them to get out of the way, they stepped back about two inches.

I adjusted my peddles, certifying the one on the right was poised just ahead of the 12:00 position on the sprocket, for maximum thrust.  I anchored my left foot, mashing the pavement with my Montgomery Wards* sneaker, like I was putting out a cigarette.  I placed my right foot on the peddle, leaned on the handlebars, and went for it.  I stood on the peddles and peddled as hard as I ever had.  I rocked the bike alternately to the left and right, trying to build up enough velocity to clear the landing.  I must have accelerated to at least fifteen miles per hour.  I hit the plywood.  My speed instantly slowed by over fifty percent, as I climbed the insanely steep rise, analogous to a parachute being prematurely deployed.  I got to the end of the ramp and went straight down to the pavement, like a swimmer diving for a hockey puck.

Evel Knievel Crashing into Snake Canyon
My jump, closer to real life
My body was scraped, bruised, and banged up.  Tinned voices echoed in my inner ear.  Blood was everywhere.  As I stood up, before picking the asphalt out of my wounds or looking my bike over for damage, two thoughts came to mind:

1.  I should have picked up the front wheel
2.  That was "totally awesome" (it was the 1980's)

How much fun was that!  I would never again attempt any jump so colossally stupid.  How many times did Evel Knievel jump the Grand Canyon?  Well, zero but he did try to jump the Snake Canyon once.  Just once.  Both images above are from that near fatal stunt.


When Rich promised, "a free Mr. Microphone, which you can use to impress your friends," I was all over that like cheese on a hamburger.  But mis hijos son mi vida.  The concert would take precedence.  I told Rich I would try to make it for part of the reading but would definitely be there for the after party.  With kids a few years ahead of mine, he said, "Great! I know all about those concerts."

My wife and I drove separately to the concert.  She took the kids in the Subaru and I took the bike because when you ride a motorcycle you do it as much as you can, when you can.  It was June, it was warm, it was not raining (for a change) and I wanted to ride.  Also, anytime there is something going on at the school, there is nowhere to park and it is a pain getting out of there.  Bike = Solution. 

The concert was great and I was on my way.  I just missed the reading, though.  People were filing out of the public library when I arrived.  So I rode over to the restaurant where Rich was heading and got a seat at the bar.  Rich arrived around a quarter-after one beer.  I said hi, congratulated him on the new book, chatted for a minute and then let him go greet his wife, other friends, and assorted guests.  It was an interesting cast of characters; everyone seemed to be professional writers, at some point in their lives.  One guy used to write for MacGyver.  He told me about an episode where he came up with the MacGyvering.  It was a fun night.

MacGyver, MacGyvering something
MacGyver, MacGyvering something

Towards the end, I had a conversation with Rich about my own aspirations.  I wanted to pick his brain on how I could get my Close Encounter story out to the public.  I do not want to "impress my friends" à la Evel Knievel / Mr. Microphone.  I just want the world to know, to understand, to believe, we are being visited and to appreciate that we need to prepare for the inevitable Contact which will occur, geologically soon.

The hope was that Rich would point me towards a publisher, agent, production company, anyone who might be interested in my story.  Maybe even he himself would want to write about it.  Or better yet, Rich knows this article on UFOs needs to be written but he does not have the time for it himself and he does not know anyone else with expertise on the subject.  Hey Dave, you know something about UFOs.  Can you take care of this for me?  Sure, dude.  You came to the right person!

That was how I imagined it.  But like my jump over the 4-Footer, the conversation did not go the way I had envisioned.  Rich's only advice was to write about the experience. 

Later on, though, he did write about my experience, himself.  Rich put some thought into our conversation, over the summer.  Maybe it was because he was away from town, on vacation, without the normal distractions of everyday life, which provided him pause for contemplation.  Maybe it was being trapped in a cottage in Maine filled with kids and none of his regular grown-up pals to chit-chat with.  Whatever it was, Rich was inspired to write an article titled, "More UFOs Than Ever Before" for The Paris Review.

Rich Cohen Conspiracy

My first thought was, huh, where did you get that idea?  Then I read the article.  It was well-written and entertaining.  It reminded me of a three-part series I wrote last fall titled, Why are we being visited now.  I then noticed that he wrote another article prior to that, in July, which was reminiscent of my article, Apollo Wha???   Imitation, it seems, is the greatest form of flattery.  Thanks Rich.  I am humbled and honored.

David Marceau, Cool Dude
Me, trying to look like someone in a writing duel
no one cares about because it only exists in my mind
Rich was kind enough to mention his, "neighbor, who runs a blog called I Saw One Too" in the second article.  Thanks for the plug.   (Next time, please add a link, like I just did.)  But he completely dismissed the whole idea of visitation by people who may have evolved a few million years before us by saying, "If we were being visited, I think we’d know, that’s all. I don’t think there’d be any doubt. Hiding it would be like Columbus hiding his 'discovery' of the New World.  Impossible." 

Like, with the infinite number of stars in the Universe, not one of them could possibly have any planets inhabited by people who evolved before us and figured out Physics.  Set your Captain Picard face-plant memes to 'Stun'.

My public response on Rich's Facebook post about the article was, "Your neighbor sounds pretty cool."  But privately I was thinking his neighbor sounds like a crazy person.  You would have to be crazy to believe your own eyes when an enormous spaceship is about a hundred yards from you, right?

Rich is calling his series "Conspiracy," where he "gets to the bottom of it all."  It is his attempt to put his own spin on this hot new UFO Craze - a Point-Counterpoint where people like me write articles demonstrating the shortsightedness of non-believers and Rich replies with a complementary article about why realists are loony-tunes.  OK.  Game on, neighbor.

So here I am, back at the keyboard with a new purpose.  I suppose I owe Rich a beer for the inspiration to write about UFOs again.  I will buy the second round, my friend.


Enjoying this blog?
Also follow me
If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) contact me using the Contact form on this page.  You may remain anonymous if you want.  I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong.  I get it, I saw one too.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.

* I thought for sure that Montgomery Ward went out of business like 30 years ago.  I can't believe I found a link to them.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Summer Break from Writing

It has been a while since I have posted - not since sitting down to write, though.  I have been writing a lot, nearly every morning.  I just have not been writing on this blog, for a change.

David Marceau Sailing
Sailing in the Long Island Sound
I was lying in bed at 5:00am this morning, thinking about what I would write today.  Momentum has been building for me to put something up on the blog recently and it seemed now was the time.  I suppose before talking about why I am back I should mention why I took some time off.

  • UFO Therapy
  • The Unidentified Climax
  • Where is this blog going
  • Summer break from writing

UFO Therapy

When I started the blog nearly a year ago it was on the heels of multiple discussions with the folks at TTSA and A&E for possible inclusion in what would eventually become the show Unidentified.  It was a short series on UFO sightings by military personnel, while on duty, which aired on the History Channel.  I was not chosen to be on the first season, I think because they had video evidence from the Nimitz Incident and wanted to follow a narrative associated with it.

Rather than being disappointed about this, I became emboldened to finally start talking about my UFO encounter, while on duty 27 years ago.  I opened up to friends whom I had previously not trusted with the knowledge of this part of me.  I (re)told my family members who had conveniently forgotten about it via dismissal.  And I went Public with this blog about Alien Philosophy and UFO Culture.

It was liberating and it was cathartic.  I am no psychologist but I am pretty sure I had PTSD from the incident.  It was so terrifying, sitting on a bench alone in the woods, holding an unloaded automatic rifle by a large stack of ammunition and explosives, wondering if the enormous alien spaceship hovering by me was going to beam me up or zap me with a death ray or even send some "people" down to check me out.  The few times I would retell this story to my closest inner circle, tears would well up in my eyes.  No matter where I was, I felt transported back there in the woods on the little bench in Gagetown, New Brunswick in August of 1992, filled with more terror than words will ever deliver justice.

Writing about this for the better part of a year has cured me.  Now, it is just another wild story I tell, like the time I got in a motorcycle accident in East L.A. or the first time I skied Tuckerman Ravine.  They are great stories (word) about life-threatening situations but telling these stories never filled me with terror.  They never brought uncontrollable tears to my eyes.  They were just cool stories about a young guy with more courage than common sense, and post-scripted plot twists.

Tuckerman Ravine

Once this albatross had been lifted from my shoulders, the fire to write for therapeutic purposes was doused.  I still write nearly every day.  It is one of my most enjoyable diversions.  I just do not write about aliens and UFOs.  Instead, I have written a lot about being a part-time college professor teaching city kids and more recently I started writing about a series of events that happened in my senior year of high school.  This has been fun but I have begun to miss the subject which initially rekindled or jump-started my writing hobby - this.

The Unidentified Climax

Around the same time I was coming to terms with the fact that I am no longer traumatized by my experience in Gagetown, the series Unidentified finally aired.  This was exhilarating for me because I felt like I had been a part of something groundbreaking.  Even though I was not featured, I had tangential involvement, I was an insider, and this was huge.  The world was finally going to get educated on something I had known for decades; we are being visited.

This was not a show about people in tin-foil hats who chase Yetis and run from demons.  These were what has been described as "sober witnesses."   People with solid reputations and more to lose than gain from coming forward - people like me.  There would be no cheesy re-enactments à la Dateline.  They were going to give the subject the respect it deserves.  I think they hit their mark.  I could pick the show apart if I wanted to but for what purpose?  TTSA had a goal to bring some important stories to the public, they signed on with some excellent producers and they delivered a solid product.  Bravo, TTSA.

Keith Morrison | Dateline
Keith Morrison from Dateline
Being a self-proclaimed insider, I wrote about my experience with Unidentified and what I thought of the show.  I then wrote an insider's review of Unidentified.  This brought me the 15 minutes of fame I anticipated it would.  Thankfully, it was not widespread fame and it really was literally only about 15 minutes.  Fame without fortune is a terrible thing.  But within certain pockets of the UFO Community, my name soon became recognizable, for better or for worse.  I was even interviewed on a UFO podcast out of the UK - more fame without fortune.  This was not the route I wanted to go down.  This was part of the reason I pulled back the reins.  I did not know where this was all going but it did not feel right.  I needed a break to reassess the situation and get my arms around this thing.

Where is this blog going?

The airing of Unidentified was like the climax to everything I had done over the prior year.  Once it was out, there was nothing to build up to again.  On top of that, this blog had evolved into something I was not sure I could sustain.  It started out with me just writing about my thoughts and daily events.  It evolved into philosophic musings on what people on other planets might be like, along with a scientific approach to current events in astrophysics.  From there, I felt like I had to continue to top myself with hard-edged reporting which would garner thousands of page views and hundreds of new Twitter followers.

It did.  But for what?

I run a business.  I have a family.  Both are important to me.  Both deserved more of my attention.  And with the summer break from school, the whole family was home with me.  That was a distraction which took time away from work and from the numerous writing projects I was working on.  Something had to give.  Sorry aliens.

Summer Break from Writing

While I was away from the blog I worked on a lot of things business-wise.  I have been paring down the business, over the past year, because the market has changed significantly and it is not the same environment as when I first started it.  I no longer have full-time employees and I am doing pretty much everything myself except for some of the more advanced bookkeeping.  This back-to-basics approach has yielded nice results and I am happy with the progress I have made.

Roughing it with the kids
Roughing it with the kids

I have also spent a lot of time with the family.  I helped out the coach of my boys' flag football team and took my daughter to her travel softball practices and games, which was often 3-4 days a week.  We went to amusement parks.  We went camping.  We went to the beach.  We had a yard sale - that was a pain in the butt.  Some days, we sat inside and played video games together.  

Corner Bistro, NYC
Site of our first date in NYC
There was no big trip this year but we had some cool day trips including a fun evening out in The City with the kids, to show them where Mrs. M. and I had our first date.  I also took Mrs. M. to Boston, for her first Phish concert.  That was a lot of fun, despite a bit of rain.

There was not a lot of "Me Time" but I did manage to get out on my motorcycle a few times, did a little sailing, and met up with friends for drinks a few times.  I saw a couple free concerts in a nearby park.  All in all, I cannot complain.  It was a pretty good summer.

Summer break from writing
Me & The Missus at Fenway
School is back in session now, here in Connecticut, and I suddenly have slightly more time on my hands.  My next article will detail some subjects I plan to write about over the course of the rest of this calendar year.

Thank you for reading and do indeed keep an eye on the sky.

Enjoying this blog?
Also follow me
If you have seen an alien spaceship or any type of unidentified flying object (UFO) contact me using the Contact form on this page.  You may remain anonymous if you want.  I will not ridicule you or try to tell you why you are wrong.  I get it, I saw one too.

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on the sky.