"Politics is the diplomatic name for the law of the jungle."
~ Ely Culbertson
So with little of interest to say about what is in essence a glacial and solitary pursuit, it's time for me to turn to the entertainment portion of the show. Some of my more astute readers may have noticed that in this highly charged atmosphere of the looming presumptive contest between Clinton and Trump, I never offer my opinions on politics. There is a simple reason for that. Politicians are by their nature a blight on society, an affront to decency, and a disgrace to all who have a high regard for honesty. Let us say that you take a notion to run for dog-catcher, which is an elected office in a number of municipalities. In order to win, you have to convince a majority of dog lovers and dog haters to vote for you. It should be apparent that if you simply announce your true feelings on the matter, you are going to attract one group, and alienate the other. So you lie. Oh, you don't call it lying. The buzz-word currently in vogue is "spin." You "spin" your position to make it more attractive.
So you get elected, and you do well as dog-catcher. Maybe next election cycle, you want to make a run at city council, or even mayor. That's a bigger audience with wider beliefs on more issues, requiring more and more nuanced "spin." Want to run for Governor, or maybe congress? Those are even larger constituencies with even more "spin" required. It should be obvious by now that no one gets elected by being honest; if you simply tell the voters who you are, you gain the support of one group while losing all the others. As a campaign strategy, then, honesty is a non-starter. By the time you're running for president, you've told so many lies that you don't even know who you are anymore. I have long ago realized that the system cannot be changed, but I refuse to dirty myself by encouraging this behavior, so I don't partake of the rants.
Perhaps you feel the same way, or perhaps you are worried, as I am, about the abysmal choices the two-party system has foisted off on us in this latest election cycle. Well, I am here to allay your fears, whether they are of Hillary or The Donald. There is nothing to worry about, and I am going to explain to you why that is in this archive post that I did in 2011. Calm yourselves, there is nothing to worry about. Light up some incense, recite a calming mantra, and watch for the red highlighting as I reach back into the archives of an old blog called Jack's Hideout for a blast from the past called
I was at work last night, and into this morning. As it was the night before a holiday, my main function was to serve as a weight to keep a desk from floating away. As I wasn't feeling my jazz station, I decided to check in on the Lunatic Fringe, and see what they've been up to since I last visited, so I tuned in Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. Hoo, boy! Now, I don't recommend a steady diet of this stuff, but everyone should turn this on about once every three months just to remind themselves of how many of these wingnuts are running loose out here, unmedicated, voting, driving motor vehicles, and in some cases, reproducing. You don't need the boogey man to scare you; that alone ought to do it.
I used to listen to Coast to Coast a lot back in the 90s when I was trying to write fantasy. I considered it my best source of WTF ideas that, being sane, were way farther out there than I could ever come up with on my own. Once I accepted the reality that I was not going to be the next Steven King, I moved away from it, as I was worried that if I spent enough time wallowing in this stuff, my own brain cells might begin to rearrange themselves to mimic what they were hearing.
The Coast to Coast of my days with it was hosted by Art Bell, and came out of Parump, Nevada. No subject was too far afield, and he brought in a range of guests who spoke on a myriad of topics, but who all had one thing in common; no news or science show would get close enough to touch them with a laser-pointer. I read somewhere, in reference to this show, that it is dangerous to give deranged people a soapbox. I don't know. On the one hand, I don't believe in censorship in any form. On the other, I think that in order to live in an uncensored world, it is your responsibility to have enough intelligence to sort trash from treasure. In other words, as long as you understand that when tonight's guest is going on about his trip to Venus aboard the Benelarviaon starship Graximandr, he is either A, trying to entertain you, or B, stark raving mad, then everything's good. Sadly, unless all the callers are plants employed by the show, this is not the case.
An example will suffice. The show has several phone lines: East of the Rockies, West of the Rockies, International, First Time Callers, you get the idea. At least a couple of times, Art Bell used to make an announcement very close to this:
"It is said that the Antichrist has been born, and is even now living among us. If that is true, and if you happen to be listening, Antichrist, we'd like to hear from you. What do you like to watch on TV? What's your favorite dessert? What are your plans for humanity? If you are the one true Antichrist, call the Antichrist Line at 123-4567 now. This line is reserved for you."
For the rest of the show, he never hung up that line. Somebody would call up and rant for five minutes about how he loved the basic evil of society, it made it so easy to mold people to his needs, and here's what he's got planned for us after the rapture. That guy runs down and hangs up, and Art instantly presses the button again. Next caller introduces himself by screaming, "That guy's not the Antichrist, I'm the Antichrist! How dare you put that impostor on my private line?!" I always had the feeling that Art was rolling on the floor laughing while this was going on, but sadly, those callers weren't.
The show, under George Noory's stewardship, has taken a most insidious tack. It now starts with an hour or so of "hard" news right from the headlines. Then, when the rest of the show devolves into guests and callers with Frequent Flyer Miles on the Mothership, it seems like a continuation of the news to those who lack the sophistication to make the distinction. In other words, while Art was an entertainer, I don't get the impression that George entirely disbelieves all this stuff.
So, last night, he has on a series of guests who told this wonderful story about having taken part in the government's beyond top secret Project Pegasus, in which young children were put into an elevator in El Segundo, California, and teleported to the surface of Mars, where they cavorted freely without any form of environmental suits or similar protection. I should throw in a disclaimer here: Being a member of the great underprivileged masses who were brainwashed as children by good science teachers, and were encouraged to develop that part of the brain that can discern a nugget of truth among a field of fertilizer, there is no way I could follow these enlightened geniuses sufficiently to explain the details of their incredible experiences. Nonetheless, I think I can hit the high points.
Appearing with him were shills... Oops, I mean fellow project members Brett Stillings, and Laura Eisenhower, a descendant (so she says) of the famous and beloved General and President; poor man must have done a backflip in his grave. To Ms. Eisenhower's credit, she didn't claim to have participated. Her contribution was to elaborate on how hard she had to resist the agents of the program who wanted her famous name to be involved. Why a top secret program would want a high-profile name involved in the first place is something I can't begin to fathom, but like I said earlier, I don't claim to be half smart enough to follow these guys.
Consider the cost of developing the technology and engineering the equipment to put the International Space Station in orbit, the ancillary equipment to deliver people and supplies, the ground support infrastructure, everything. It took the developed nations of the world using their tax bases and their ability to borrow money without collateral to get it done. Now private enterprise is being invited into the field, because governments are finding it insupportable. Now imagine what it might cost to send an expedition to another star, whether you postulate faster-than-light drive or not (and what would that cost?). Once you arrive at said other star, you find a thriving civilization. Obviously, your mission at that point becomes to hide in a swamp near a small town, and get your jollies frightening the town drunk... Who's in charge of the space program for these visitors, John Cleese?
So now I have to present a conclusion to all this rambling (If you haven't caught on yet, this post was unplanned; I'm working very much without a net here). I guess it would be, sample everything the wide world has to offer, no matter how absurd. Enjoy whatever tickles your fancy, no matter how outrageous. Do no harm. And above all, keep a tight grip on your sanity, because a lot of this stuff is just waiting for a chance to suck it right out of you, and you don't have to look far to find people who have already lost that battle.
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And that, boys and girls, is why you don't have to worry about this election. You can take it from George Noory and his brilliant band of scientists. Now, don't you feel silly for wasting all that worry over nothing?
My old blog was full of this stuff, and if this installment is well-received, I may dust off another one, but this was just too rich, and isn't it fun getting out those old predictions to see how the seers did?
Well, I have to hit the sack. My sleep schedule got FUBARed last night when an hour's nap turned into three. Hopefully I'll be back in synch with the rest of the time zone by the 14th, when the subject will be... Well, tune in and find out. Until then, read well, and write better!