Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hey Everybody, it's your favorite Alien with a thought of the day.

I read where, in a nearby city, the major issue
this season  concerns the amount of money
spent on the public Christmas tree. - C.W.
Yesterday, I went with Big Dope down to the local office of the American Red Cross. The purpose of the trip was to have a blood sample drawn prior to his next apheresis donation, just to pre-check his platelet level. While they were getting him “into the system,” (whatever that means) I overheard a staff member ask, “Is he a cancer victim?”

The other said, “No, he’s a donor.”

Now folks, that sort of puts this gift-giving season of yours into perspective, doesn’t it

Thursday, November 28, 2013

178. Thanks

From the so-called “mind” of the Alien C.W., edited by the Blogger.


Since arriving in your midst, I have been puzzled, bemused, amazed, and sometimes astounded at your habits. But your attitude on Thanksgiving takes the soft sweet bakery item. (Editor’s comment: He means “cake”). You seem to have so many fortuitous dynamics that have created a society basically free from the wars and pestilence that plague so many other societies. Yet, on this day you seem to be most thankful for an overabundance of food and the chance to spend money. It makes my boughntacojitet gland smoke. (Editor: it roughly translates to his “brain,” such as it is).

As a visitor to your society, I would suggest other subjects of this giving of thanks. To wit:

- The historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth who, though failing gloriously in his “end of the world” predictions, left you with such epochal and wonderful admonitions ( abandoned since your 1980s) on brotherly love, cautions against judging, forgiveness of your brothers, care for the poor, and honoring the peacemakers. As an aside, I think you might also be thankful for a current President who would risk the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” to pursue the last. But I am just a shifty alien and what do I know?

Buddha, who, if you would pay attention, showed you a path upon which you might not, in medical terminology, be wound so tightly. (Editor: don’t bother. He’s on a roll).

John Newton, who first gained our attention on the planet of Falloonia when he took you from the “take aways” and “goes intas” stage of mathematics and allowed you, eventually, to escape gravity, of both the physical and religious type.

- Charles Darwin, who explained some very elementary things to you. I was highly amused when Big Dope told me about his epiphany regarding the findings of natural selection. Seems he had encountered the basic theories in a junior high school science class and had been pondering the implications for several days when, while taking a shower, he dropped his washrag. As he, without thinking, retrieved it with the toes of one foot, a great truth of the universe opened for him. Goes to cause to illustrate, doesn’t it? (Editor: “show”.)

- Abraham Lincoln, who held your union together and set the stage for the freeing of a huge segment of humanity. Wonder how many votes he would get today?

Would not a quiet day of reflection work as well? - C.W.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who empowered and ennobled the “least of those, your brethren.”

Martin Luther King, Jr., who truly died for your sins.

William Jefferson Clinton, who gave you eight years of peace and prosperity in the face of unprecedented hate and persecution, and, in return, only asked for a simple … (Editor: Censored).

Hillary Clinton, because the Falloonian Elders thinks she is wonderful.
Matthew McConaughey, because Mrs. Big Dope thinks he is dreamy beyond words.

The list could go on, but I am at a borrowed keyboard and must bid you farewell. Let me close by saying that I am thankful today for the time I am getting to spend with you.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Midweek Special
Found Big Dope asleep at his desk this morning with this on his computer. Enjoy. - C.W.

“If I should not get to come home I want you to try
 and take the best care you can of yourself and the children,”
Thomas Goode Clark to Margery Clark - 1863

While waiting on the Muse to arrive this morn I revisited the sad history of the 42nd Mississippi Regiment of Davis’ Brigade, one of 15 regiments that were, in a classic example of insanity, ordered to assault Cemetery Ridge in the face of entrenched riflemen and massed artillery on the third day at Gettysburg. When Albert Clark of that regiment fell, he became the third Clark man to die during the three days, his father Thomas and brother Albert having died at McPherson’s Ridge during the first day’s slaughter, during which the unit suffered 50 percent casualties.

The brave survivors lived to see the Richmond newspapers, and a manipulated history, give all the glory of the third day’s assault to three regiments in a division that had not seen action until that third day. In a final insult, Virginia historians changed the assault into a “charge” and named it after one of the three division commanders, ironically, the one that had not participated before the final action. (It helped that the Division Commander’s wife lived into the 1930s and spent the remainder of her life aggrandizing his role in the battle).

This misrepresenting of history occurred despite the fact that the Mississippi and North Carolina regiments, with one lone Virginia unit on the left of the assault may have made it farthest up the hill and in the presence of terrible flanking fire.

They often say that histories of war are written by the victors but the immediate history of the Civil War was written by Virginians, who, if I remember correctly, were the losers. So, it wasn’t a “charge” and it wasn’t Pickett’s. What BS we carry with us as we race through history.

By the time of Appomattox three years later, seven of the original 750 men of the 42nd were left standing.

With the death of her husband and two sons, Margery Clark was left a widow with six surviving children on the family farm. It is said that she “cried and shouted all night long” when she heard the news of her men.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Big Dope's book is getting rave reviews. Go figure - C.W.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

177. Conspiracies

Perhaps the faithful reader has noticed that C.W., the visiting Alien, who is able to assume any shape he wants—at will—can prove tiresome at times. If that is not the case, please allow me an example.

He showed up this morning before daylight, a time I relish because of its quietude, in the most awful getup you can imagine.

He said he was a “Master of Intrigue.”

Now if the readers are old enough to have enjoyed the “Spy vs. Spy” episodes in the Mad Magazines of the 1960s, you can imagine how he appeared. If not, just take my word for it. It was weird, even for the alien.

He entered by sliding along a wall and eyeing me between glances to and fro to see if anyone else was in the room. Assured that we were alone, he eased into a chair.

When I acknowledged his presence, he said, “Did you know that Hillary Clinton orchestrated the destruction of the World Trade Towers?”

I refused to honor him with a response.

“It’s true,” he said.

I said, “Would you please leave?”

“Can you not stand the truth?”

“Truth I can abide,” I said. “Insanity unhinges me.”

“Doesn’t it bother you that she was only a few hundred miles away and was overheard to say to an aide, ‘It will be quicker by plane’ that very morning?”

“Don’t you have something to do?’

He changed the subject. “Want to know who killed JFK?”

“I already do. It was a man named Lee Harvey Oswald.”

“Ha,” he said. “That’s what they want you to think.”

“Who is they?”

“The CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the FBI, LBJ, the United Nations, organized crime, Fidel Castro, the Dallas Police Department, the staff at Parkland Hospital, the Texas Rangers, and Walt Disney.”

“Walt Disney?”

“He was in on it too.”

I said, “C.W., who have you been talking to?”

“I just listen and watch,” he said. “It’s all there on the History Channel.”

“The History Channel?” I closed my eyes.

“And Fox News.”

I sighed.

“What?” he said. “Don’t you believe in conspiracies?”

“I try not to let the thought of them destroy my cognitive capacity.”

His face turned into a snarl. “So you don’t believe they happen?”

“Oh, on occasion,” I said. “We did have the so called ‘Watergate Conspiracy’ some years ago.”
“That was the one set up,” he said, “by Jimmy Carter to ruin Richard Nixon’s presidency.”

I ignored him. “Then there was the short-lived conspiracy by Ronald Reagan’s crew to sell weapons to America’s archenemy the Ayatollah Khomeini for cash with which to fund a war in South America. All illegal and treasonous.”

He said nothing, so I continued. “Want to know the interesting part?”

He said, “What?”

“Those involved a mere handful of folks and they unraveled almost immediately.”

By carefully choosing our sources of
information, we can adopt any paradigm
of reality we choose. That's exciting. - C.W.


“So,” I said. “Maybe vast conspiracies would be more difficult to maintain than we could ever imagine.”

“So they never happen?”

I said, “Oh they can. Look at how Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, Ike Turner, Peter Townshend, and Paul Anka conspired to break up the Beatles.”

Sunday, November 17, 2013

176. Rain

C.W. was in a rare pensive mood. It was raining and rain makes him homesick I think. He says it rains more or less constantly on his home planet of Falloonia, a fact which supports my belief that his actual “shape” is closer to what we would call an aquatic creature than a human-based form. Today though, he chose the shape of the young student he likes so well. He is the one who can swing between being delightfully inquisitive and a totally pain in the keester, sometimes in the same sentence.

Now, he was turned on the couch with his chin resting on its back. He was staring into the dark morning listening to the rain. Without moving, he said, “How long is it going to rain?”

I looked up from my book, thought, and said, “How the hell should I know?”

“Will it rain for 40 days and 40 nights, do you suppose?”

“I doubt it. Why?”

“Just wondering,” he said. “It did once you know. All over the world. At the same time.”

I said, “According to numerous myths.”

“No, according to your Bible.”

“Have you been studying religion again?”

“It drowned everyone except one family,” he said, ignoring me.

“And one pair of each species,” I said. “Including a pair each of more than 50,000 species of beetles and with tigers and wildebeests bunked side by side for several months.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Kinda neat, huh?”

“Very neat,” I said. I returned to my book.

“But,” he said and I knew it was coming. “All of the precipitation that falls originates as water vapor that has evaporated from the surface of the Earth.”

“Sounds right,” I said, silently hoping for the miracle of peace and quiet since it was an awfully good book I was reading.

No such luck. “So where did all the water come from?”

I said, “In myths, one can make up the pre-existence of water.”

“Did all the little children that didn’t belong to the chosen family drown? That doesn’t seem fair.”

“Myths don’t have to pass any test of moral fairness and they often don’t.”

“Why do you call it a myth?”

I closed my book and said, “Because the story of a world-wide flood appears in many cultures, even Chinese, going back as far as 4,000 years B.C.E.”

“Before the common era,” he said as if explaining something to himself.

“Yes.” I opened my book again.

“Benjy Shanon’s daddy is a preacher and he says his flood really happened and you are going to hell if you don’t agree.”

“I thought Benjy Shanon’s daddy worked on a county road crew.”

“He does, but he preaches too.” He resumed listening to the rain. “Matter can neither be created nor destroyed,” he said.

I said, “That’s interesting. Did you learn that in school?”

He paid no attention to my question, but said, “So where did all the water go after everybody drowned?

Didn't one of your military officers make the comment
during the Vietnam War that "The only way to save that
village was to destroy it? Must be a cultural thing. - C.W.
“It went up Benjy Shanon’s dad’s …” I stopped myself. “I told you it was a myth, a myth designed to establish hierarchies, a myth used to explain things before we had science, a myth designed to keep social groups in line.” I stopped and made myself relax. “So why don’t you read a book or just contemplate nature?”

“May I pray for you?”

“Pray do,” I said. “Just do it silently.”

Outside it continued to rain.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

175. Sailors

It was the weekend before Veteran’s Day and, truth be known, I was looking forward to seeing what shape C.W. might choose this year. As the loyal reader will recall, he can be quite talented when it comes to celebrating the military.

This year he didn’t disappoint.

How shall I describe him? Well, he was a 19th Century ship’s bosun. That’s right, he was an exact replica of a sailor from the days of iron men and wooden ships. He could have stepped right off the deck of USS Constitution or the HMS Victory. He even sported a bosun’s pipe, that little curved metal device that emits a sharp, piercing whistle that can be heard during the roughest seas. It is used to convey orders on board a naval vessel.

Wait. It was my old bosun’s pipe and that’s when trouble started. Before I could protest, he piped “All hands on Deck.”

I suspect my wife, who was still abed, levitated. All I know for sure is that a voice that could have been heard over the guns at the Battle of Trafalgar shrieked, “Don’t make me come in there.”

“Pipe down,” I said. “What do you think you are doing?”

He said, “Avast Matey.”

“What the hell, C.W.?”

“Know what I think?”

I said, “I never know what you think. Why don’t you enlighten me? But first put that damned pipe away before you get us both keelhauled.”

“Stow your jabber, Fenderhead,” he said. “Let me swap a yarn or two.”

I groaned. He continued.

“I’ve been pondering,” he said. “I think you are a ‘fore and aft’ country.”

“Fore and aft,” I said, trying to catch his drift.

“Right, matey.”

“Carry on Lad,” I said, sort of getting into the mood of the moment.

“Take babies,” he said.

“Take them where?”

“No, take babies,” he said.

I waited.

He said, “Take babies. Seems a lot of individuals in your species love and want to protect them until they are born.”

I waited.

“Then,” he said. “If they ain’t born to the quarterdeck, they can be tossed overboard with the day’s garbage.”

He had a point. I forgot for a moment that I was talking to an alien who had chosen the shape of a historical sailing master. “Fore and aft,” I said.

“Fore and aft. Same with us poor military men and women.”

“How so?”

“People love us as long as we can splice a line, fly down the decks at ‘beat to quarters,’ climb the rigging, and fire the cannons.”

“We love our military folks,” I said. “Just look at all the bumper stickers stating as much that you see on the freeway.”

He said, “What’s a freeway?”

I said, “Never mind. We just support our troops, that’s all.”

“What about after the cannons roar, and the smoke clears, and we can’t tie a bowline with our one good arm, or man the crow’s nest with no eyes.”

“Are you referring to the maimed and wounded?”


Shouldn't you honor him as much after
the battle is over as before it begins? - C.W.
“Well we support them too, or at least we should.”

“So why are our infirmaries and dressing stations so underfunded?”

“Are you talking about the veteran’s hosptitals?”

“Affirmative, Lad.”

He had me. “I don’t know,” I said.

“Fore and aft,” he said. “Makes all the difference in the world.”

“Fore and aft,” I said.

“I think,” he said. “That it has something to do with your ‘port and starboard’ political system.”

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hey folks: It's Big Dope's birthday today and here is a post of his I stole off his Face Book page.

On surviving another year: Having another birthday is always better than the only alternative. This year I can’t help thinking about a naval vessel on which I served. It was large and usually provided smooth sailing. She was top heavy though, because of two massive cranes. During a storm at sea, she would roll—really roll—to the point where even seasoned deep-water sailors would stop what they were doing and cast a sea-eye amidship. At the farthest point of the roll, the old girl would shudder, groan, and right herself. During the worst of one storm we all began to wonder, “Is this the time she won’t make it, won’t right herself, but just keep rolling?

Our ship of state seems to me to be on such a roll. There are factions that seem to want it to capsize and sink. Don’t ask me why. Although I wasn’t “in-country” in 1968, reports indicate we went through another such roll then, cheered on by the opposite end of the political spectrum than the one that threatens us now. It made no sense then, either.

It has all taught me to avoid extremes of belief that breed discontent and disaster. And it comforts me to think that America, that great old gal, has always righted herself and sailed to peaceful waters. But this time, this time … does the abyss beckon?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

174. Love

“Mock me if you wish, but I know what your species needs,” C.W. said, as I curled up on the couch laughing. “Your kind always scoffs at the prophets.”

Get this. He was—excuse me while I stop and laugh again—in the shape of a 1960s hippie, complete with robe, headband. and beaded necklace. A strong odor of incense oozed through the room.

“I can’t help it,” I said.

He said, “You will see, my friend. Peace be unto you.”

“Oh,” I said, straightening up. “What the hell? What’s up?”

“Simply this,” he said. “I have chanced upon what your country needs to work itself away from this awful state you currently occupy.”

“Awful state?”

“There was another shooting spree,” he said. “Or haven’t you heard?”

“At an airport, right?”

“Yes,” he said. “And it seems the shooter had been motivated by a sinister force that is endemic to your country.”

“And what sinister force might that be?”

“Media inspired hate,” he said. “From radio, television, and printed sources.”

“You mean like hate radio?”

“It runs constantly. It can flow without stop through a person’s mind like a never-ending poison. And your species has no internal antidote for hate.”

“You will provide an external one?”

“It is my destiny.”

I said, “And you have a plan?”

“A simple one. You might say: a kind and gentle one.”

“And that is?”

“Love radio.”

I thought about this. “You would counteract the effects of ‘hate radio’ with ‘love radio?’”

“Exquisitely simple, yes?”

“Love radio.” I pondered this.

“And later we can expand to ‘love TV.’”

I said, “You know that it would cost money to do this?”

He said, “Of course I do, my friend.” He sat and smoothed his robe. “That’s where you come in.”

“Me? I don’t have that kind of money.”

“Of course not. You’ll have to find sponsors.”

I couldn’t help laughing. “And who, may I ask, is going to sponsor a program about loving one another?”

It was his time to ponder a question. “Drug companies?”

“Are you kidding? It would put them out of business.”

“Car makers?”

“They sell on fun, envy, or implied power, not love.”


“You would be direct competition.”

“I know,” he said. “Mega-marts.”

“Uh,” I said. “I don’t know if you have noticed but they don’t even love their own people enough to pay a living wage.”

“Maybe the churches would help.”

“Too late,” I said. “They have moved into prosperity and paranoia as dominate messages. The few that still preach love are drying up and wouldn’t have any spare cash for you.”

“Hmmm,” he said. “There must be some source of funding for love.”

“Afraid not,” I said.

I'm confused. If one can't sell love
in your country? What can one sell? - C.W.
“I’ve got it,” he said and his face brightened.

I said, “Please share.”

“Gun manufacturers.” He pointed a finger at me. “Bang.”

“Are you crazy?”

“No,” he said, giddy with excitement. “I have heard them on many an occasion state that their only goal is to allow us to protect the ones we love. There you go.”

“Maybe you should stick to selling flowers,” I said.