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Sunday, September 14, 2014

217: Baseball

I took C.W. to his first baseball game this week. Big mistake.

First thing he said after the top half of the first inning: “Man, this is boring.”

Shrinking down in my seat, I tried to ignore him. He was in his form of the innocent twelve-year old, in his “ten-fidgets-a-minute” mode.

“Not as boring as what you call ‘sock-her’ though,” he said.

“It’s ‘soccer,’” I said, “and people all over the world don’t find it boring.”

“People all over your world think war is heroic,” he said. “That’s why we find you so fascinating.”
 
He finished his hot dog. “May I have another?”

“They cost a lot,” I said. “Just sit back and enjoy the game.”

“Why do they get so many chances to hit that spherical object? The game would go faster if they just had one shot at it.”

“Tradition,” I said.

“Can I have a beer?”

“No. You’re underage and they cost nearly ten dollars apiece.”

“I’m 218 years-old as your species keeps time.”

“Watch the game.”

“Why does that man throwing the spherical object keep shaking his head?”

“He’s getting signals.”
 
“Signals?”

“Yes, signals.”

“From where?”

“From the catcher. He uses his fingers to signal.”

“Why doesn’t he use a radio transmitter?”

“Tradition.” I said.

“Is this a game of tradition?”

I felt mischievous. “No,” I said, “it’s a game of balls and strikes.”

I can’t best him at being obnoxious.

“Oh,” he said. “So that couple over there is playing baseball when he kisses her on the strikes, and …”

“C.W.” I yelled as the family in front of us turned around and glared.

“Tradition, probably,” he said.

Oh my. Eight more innings to go.

Just then, a left handed batter fouled one straight toward a spot about four rows in front of us. A young boy with a baseball glove stood to catch it but C.W. rose, extended an arm forward, and snatched the ball just before it entered the kid’s glove. Half the crowd around us stared in amazement. The other half booed. Before anyone could take action, C.W. leaped over the seats, ran down the aisle, and started yelling “Mister, mister,” at the third base coach. When the fellow looked over, C.W. tossed the ball to him and said, “Here’s your spherical object back.”

Best I can tell. the fellow in front is there to retrieve
the spherical objects. It's a strange game. - C.W.
Amazed, the man caught the ball and pitched it toward the dugout.

I looked down and straightened my shirt. The crowd stared in anger and amazement. As he walked back toward me, C.W. announced to everyone watching, “I’ll bet there are some people who would want to steal those.”

From the corner of my eye, I could see it all being replayed on the jumbotron.
 
 
 
 
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

216. Opposition

“There is this one thing you do, your species and your country, that I find most admirable.”

That was C.W. speaking. We were having a pleasant walk in Little Rock’s riverside park, he as a middle-age professor type and I as, … well, as myself—can’t do much about that. I was on our outboard side because he tends to want to trip bicyclists when they play their little game of whizzing by pedestrians close enough to brush their clothing. Since the incident in which he sent one arching off into the river, I’ve had to watch him around them. They don’t seem to grasp the fact that he has a 360 degree span of vision.

Anyway, I asked what he found so admirable about our country today.

“This political concept of ‘the loyal opposition’ I find simply remarkable,” he said.

“Say again?”

“This practice you have in which the political party not in power retains its basic beliefs but is loyal to the party in power as regards your country’s well-being.”

“Uh, C.W.”

He continued. “It is a well-established Galactic truth that optimum outcomes in any endeavor occur when polar opposites each contribute to a solution somewhere in between their opposing approaches.”

“Uh, C.W.”

“That’s how I got here,” he said. “We Falloonians developed our abilities in space travel through a long process of sharing of ideas among differing approaches to time-space reality. Your species is to be commended. You may get there someday.”

“Uh, C.W.”

“I mean, could you imagine a country ruled by the polar extremes of a political belief?”

“Uh, C.W.”

“To think you can set aside your political differences when threatened is a sublime thought in anyone’s book.” He stopped. “Asshole!” he shouted at a cyclist. Then he continued. “Simply sublime.”

“Uh, C.W.”

“Such loyalty to the overriding concept of national and worldwide security will see you through. That’s my guess,” he said.

“Uh, C.W.”

“The Falloonian Elders tell us that it took our species over a billion years to develop such an enlightened philosophy of behavior and your species has accomplished it in, what, a couple of hundred thousand years? Truly remarkable.”

“Uh, C.W.”

“What was it your comedian Woody Allen said? ‘To you I am an atheist, but to God I’m the loyal opposition,’ or something like that.”  He smiled.

“Uh,  C.W.”

“Yes,” he said. “When I write the final report on my stay among you Americans, I’ll speak highly of your belief in the loyal opposition.”

“Uh, C.W.,” I said.

“Are you trying to tell me something?”
“Yes.”
Please don't tell me that your children understand
 Galactic truths better than your politicians. - C.W.

“Well just interrupt me, why don’t you? I’m only talking about one of the few things I find comprehensible about the way your countrymen behave. I’m serious about this loyal opposition thing. It’s impressive.” He paused and looked at me. “So… what?”

“We don’t practice it anymore.”

His head snapped toward me. “Ridiculous.”

“Maybe,” I said, “but true.”

“Why? When? Where. What on earth?”

“Why don’t you ask Newt Gingrich,” I said.
 
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

215. Craziness

Oh dear. C.W. remains in this serious mood. He’s still pretending to be Walter Cronkite. I think he is watching too much news, so later today I plan to take him fishing. He loves to fish and it usually brightens his outlook.

In the meantime, he marched in last evening and told me he thinks my country is going phooknstabera.

“What on earth is that?” I was at a loss.

“Literally, it is a small airborne creature on Falloonia that excretes a sweet-smelling excrement as it flies. Sniffing it makes a Falloonian behave erratically. So the word is slang for a state of confusion.”

I thought for a moment, then said, “Sort of like ‘bat-shit crazy’ on our planet?”

It was his turn to think. “I suppose so.” Then he nodded. “Exactly.”

“So what brings this on?”

“Don’t you keep up with the news?”

“No,” I said. “I quit doing that. It’s bad for your health.”

“Then you don’t know that the world is on the verge of several outbreaks of disease, any one of which could be a final part of something, especially a period of time, an activity, or a story as regards life on your planet?”

“Do you mean the end of us?”

“That’s what I just said. Why do you repeat me so often?”

“Never mind,” I said, “we have faced disease before and prevailed.”

“Yes, but you taught science in your high schools back then. Biology. The emergence of species.”

“As in evolution?”

“As in the most basic building block of biological life in the Universe.”

“Some folks don’t want their children taught this subject.”

He looked at me as if I had just said two plus two usually adds up to four. “Phooknstabera,” was all he said.

“So what else is troubling you?”

“Has anyone within your species noticed that your planet is frying?”

“Last I heard,” I said, “something like 99 percent plus of our scientists have.”

“And?”

“And what?”

“And a hand full of so-called “elected” officials can stop any effort to do something about it?”

“That’s the way our country works,” I said.

He slumped into a chair and shook his head and muttered, “Phooknstabera.” Then he looked at me. “Has anyone told you that the Middle Eastern area of your planet is about to explode into total war and some of your so-called “elected” officials are responding by making plans to shut down your government again?”


The daily "hat-check" seems to take
Big Dope's mind off the world's
problems for minutes at a time. - C.W.
“Look,” I said, “you’re getting me into a blue funk. Why don’t we do something fun?” In my mind, I could already see the fishing floats bobbing.”

“What are you going to do? Pour ice water on your head? That’s the only thing that seems to make your species happy these days, that and watching so-called ‘college’ football.”

“Or,” I said, “we could turn on the news and see what kind of hat Kate Middleton is wearing today.”

He put his face in his hands. “Phooknstabera,” was all he said.





 
Please help me get my new computer by clicking an ad. Big Dope has his password-protected and it takes me almost ten minutes to break into it. - C.W.
 
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Midweek Thought from C.W.

The juxtaposition of your TV images sometimes amazes me. Yesterday I watched for a moment. There, on one channel was something called “Antiques Road Show” in which experts were appraising items of no physiological value whatsoever for huge sums of money. Pressed a switch and saw folks wasting hydrogen hydroxide—essential for human survival, the depletion of which will mark the end of civilization on earth, and which is disappearing at an alarming rate—by pouring it on one another’s head to encourage an act that your Jesus said you should do willingly and without external encouragement. Big Dope was unable to explain.
- C.W.
 
 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

215. Fear

As the faithful reader knows, I sometimes kid C.W. about his entrepreneurial dreams. Okay, I’ll admit it, I always kid C.W. about his entrepreneurial dreams. Otherwise, what’s the fun of having an alien around?

But when he becomes serious, I listen and we talk. After all, we are supposed to be learning from one another.

It’s when he takes on this sort of Walter Cronkite look that I know I may learn from him. That’s how he showed up recently wanting to take a morning walk before the heat arrived. We walked for a while before he spoke, another sign of impending seriousness.

“I spent some time tri-sensoring yesterday,” he said. This is a trick he does where he listens to the voice material, reads, and watches TV simultaneously. The only difference between him and the typical teenager is that he absorbs all three in full and equal doses. It’s a Falloonian thing.

“Oh,” I said. “and what were your sources?”

“That book you gave me,” he said, “the one that just had a number for a title.”

“1984,” I said.

“That’s it.”

“And what else?”

“I listened to one of your ‘Great Courses’ CDs. It was a scientist exploring the Earthling’s view of natural selection and descent with modification.”

“Darwin’s views,” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “He was pretty close, you know.”

“That is what I’ve have heard. What else?”

This so-called “news” channel named after a carnivorous mammal of the dog family with a pointed muzzle and bushy tail, proverbial for its cunning.”

“Fox News?”

“I’ll admit,” he said, “I flipped between it and some of your media-driven religious outlets.”

“TV evangelists,” I said.

“Does anyone else think them a bit strange?”

“Yes,” I said, “but go ahead. What did you decide?”

“I decided,” he said, “that if I were to consider a business, I might call it ‘Dial a Fear’ or something like that.”

“Dial a Fear? Why?”

“Your species seems to crave fear,” he said, “and thrive on it, thirst for it, and reward its purveyors handsomely.”

I didn’t say anything.

“Further,” he said, “It seems to control the mechanisms of your society.”

“Elucidate.”

“Gladly,” he said. “Remember how the Thought Police broke Winston Smith in Orwell’s book?”

“Rats,” I said. “They did it with rats.”

“Rats were just the tool,” he said. “They did it with fear. Not love. Not promise of reward. Not societal approval. Not religion. Not family or clan loyalty. They did it with fear.”

I didn’t say anything.

Of course your religious foundations are built on a strong edifice of fear.”

“How so?”

“Don’t you think the prospect of your body burning in agony for all eternity makes a strong and lasting impression on a five-year old? Or the fear of never seeing your family again while they are happily singing hymns together while watching you burn?”

I didn’t say anything.

“And your news is not news, in any true sense of the word, but fear packaged in the wrappings of current events. The ‘others’ are coming seems to be the prevalent theme. Even you, yourself, will admit that the modern development patterns in your cities result from fear of ‘the others.’”

Start them out with a healthy dose of fear
and control them for life, I always say. - C.W.
I didn’t say anything.

He said, “I think it is genetically, that is to say evolutionary, based.”

“How so?”

“Your ancestors in the wild who didn’t live in fear didn’t live long,” he said, as if talking to a third-grader.”

“Oh,” I said. “Now I’m going to have to think about all this a bit,” I said.

“Fine,” he said. “Meanwhile let’s go watch some political ads.”

I didn’t say anything.

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- C.W.