Category Archives: aliens

Science-Fiction Rules for Real Life

God finally finished the last episode of the radio comedy “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” on an old cassette recording from the BBC brought to him especially from Heaven’s out[-of-date AV department at his command. He hadn’t listened to it when it was new even though Saint Peter kept telling him how funny it was and he really ought to make himself aware of the works of Douglas Adams. And he needed a new comedy writer for the Sacred Stand-up Comedy Review next Saturday.

“Make it so, Peter,” God decreed.

“Um, Lord, I fear our lend-lease agreement with the Bad Place has expired.”

“You mean, the writer of that radio play is not in Heaven…?”

And then God, being all-knowing, remembered that humorists, comedy writers, and satirists had lost favor since the Middle Ages. If only Dante hadn’t made that snippy comment about Deus ex Machina moments in real life. Writers should not assume God has a sense of humor.

“Well, if I cannot get the comedy writer I need to write my monologue, I will use some cosmic humor of my own and just change all of reality to satirize how things work in science fiction.”

“Oh, my!” said Saint Peter. “What are the rules going to be?”

“First of all, if you ignore small scientific rules for too long, they build up problems and cosmic tensions to a point where they create world-ending catastrophes. Like having too many cows farting on farms leading to global warming and the atmosphere eventually catching fire. Methane burns, after all.”

“Well, that could never happen. People on Earth would never value hamburgers over being able to breathe without inhaling fire.” Saint Peter had a smug smile of satisfaction on his face for that faulty realization.

“Don’t bet your afterlife on it, Peter.”

“What’s rule two?”

“Anything mysterious or inexplicable found by archaeologists was done by alien beings in flying saucers.”

“But that could be true, couldn’t it? There are planets capable of life and civilization that are millennia older than Earth, possibly even millions of years older. If interstellar travel is possible, then some explorer-type civilizations have probably already visited Earth. Maybe even announcing themselves as gods. After all, we haven’t really figured out how the pyramids were built.”

“Peter, be careful how you blaspheme! And don’t let Zeus hear that I have created this second rule.”

“Sorry, Lord. Forgive my misspoken ignorance, and tell me the third rule.

“Well, time travel is possible. And because it is, it has already been invented somewhere in the universe, and therefore it exists in all times and all planets. There are nearly infinite time travelers watching everything happen.”

“Won’t they mess up the time lines of events that happen in their past?”

“They cannot. A time traveler is part of the history they visit. Therefore they might cause the event to happen. But they can never change it. Anything they do is part of the history that already exists.”

“So, is David Tennant from that show a real time traveler?”

“That is for me to know and not for you to question… Though I can reveal that David Tennant is not the real-life Scrooge McDuck, only his cartoon voice.”

“That is good to know.”

“And the final new rule I will create for my humorous monologue is that all alien civilizations will speak and understand English, but we will all know they are alien because of strange little alterations to their neck, nose, or forehead.”

“Will you nickname that one the Star Trek rule?”

“Is Gene Roddenberry in Heaven or Hell?”

“Good point, Lord. At least he won’t be embarrassed when you spring this new reality on the angels at the Comedy Review on Saturday.”

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Vonnegut

My experience of the works of Kurt Vonnegut is limited to the reading of three books; Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and Slaughterhouse Five. But it was enough to make me love him and use him as a shaper of my soul.

I deeply apologize for the fact that even though he only wrote 14 books and a bunch of short stories, I have not read everything I could get my hands on by Kurt. Three novels and one short story (Harrison Bergeron) is not really enough to compare to the many, many things that I have read by Mark Twain, Terry Pratchett, Louis L’Amour, and Michael Crichton. I can’t begin to count how many books of each of those four I have read and reread. But it is enough that I read those three novels and have a lifelong regret of never buying and reading Slapstick when I had the chance. Vonnegut writes black humor. The ideas are painful, and burn away flesh from your personal body of being. And at the same time, you cannot help but laugh at the pure, clean, horrifying truths his ridiculous stories reveal.

If, in the course of telling a story, you can put the sublime, the ridiculous, and the horrendous side by side, and make the reader see how they actually fit together, then you can write like Vonnegut.

Let me give you three quick and dirty book reports of the Vonnegut I have read in the order I have read them;

I read Cat’s Cradle in college. I was young and idealistic at the time, foolishly convinced I could be a great writer and cartoonist who could use my work to change mankind for the better.

In the book, Dr. Felix Hoenikker (a fictionalized co-creator of the atomic bomb) is obsessively re-stacking cannonballs in the town square in pursuit of a new way to align water molecules that will yield ice that does not melt at room temperature. Much as he did with the A-bomb, Hoenikker invents a world-ending science-thing without any thought for the possible consequences. The narrator of the novel is trying to write a humanizing biography of the scientist, and comes to observe the inevitable destruction of the whole world when the oceans freeze into Ice-9, the un-meltable ice crystal. Before the world ends, the narrator spends time on the fictional Carribean island of San Lorenzo where he learns the fictional religion known as Bokononism, and learns to make love to a beautiful woman by pressing bare feet together sole to sole. It is a nihilistic picture of what humans are really like more savagely bleak than any portrayal Monte Python’s Flying Circus ever did on TV.

Needless to say, my ideals were eventually shattered and my faith in the world shaken.

I read Breakfast of Champions after I had been teaching long enough to buy my own house, be newly married, and a father to one son. It was probably the worst time of life to be reading a book so cynical, yet true.

In this story, the author Kilgore Trout, much published but mostly unknown, is headed to Midland City to deliver a keynote address at an arts festival. Dwayne Hoover is a wealthy business man who owns a lot of Midland City real-estate. Trout gives Hoover a book (supposedly a message from the creator of the universe) to read that suggests that all people (except for the reader of the book… meaning Hoover) are machines with no free will. Hoover takes the message to heart and tries to set the machines free by breaking them, beating up his son, his lover, and nine other people before being taken into custody.

The book contains devastating themes of suicide, free will, and social and economic cruelty. It makes you sincerely reflect on your own cog-in-the-machine reality.

Slaughterhouse Five is a book I bought and read when I missed my chance to buy Slapstick and needed something to take home from HalfPrice Books to make me feel better about what I missed. (Of the five books I had intended to buy that day, none were still on the shelves in spite of the fact that they had been there the week before.) It was fortuitous. This proved to be the best novel I had ever read by Vonnegut.

Like most of his work, the story of Billy Pilgrim is a fractured mosaic of small story pieces not presented in chronological order. It details Billy’s safe, ordinary marriage to a wife who gives him two children, but it is ironically cluttered with death, accidents, being stalked by an assassin, and being kidnapped by aliens. It also details his experiences in World War II where he is captured by the Germans, held prisoner in Dresden, kept in an underground slaughterhouse, and ironically survives the fire-bombing of Dresden by the Allies. Further, it details his time as a zoo exhibit on the alien planet of Tralfamadore.

It explores the themes of depression, post-traumatic-stress disorder, and anti-war sentiment. Vonnegut himself was a prisoner of war in Dresden during the fire-bombing, so real-life experiences fill the book with gravitas that it might not otherwise possess. Whether the author was ever kidnapped by aliens or not, I cannot say.

But Kurt Vonnegut’s desire to be a writer and portray himself as a writer in the character of Kilgore Trout, and even as himself in his work, has an awful lot to do with my desire to be a writer myself. Dark, pithy wisdom is his thing. But that wisdom, having been wrung from the darkness is all the more brightly lit because of that wringing. It is hard to read, but not hard to love.

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Why I Wear a Tinfoil Hat

Davalon ad

You know by now if you have read what I’ve written, or been around me when people make the mistake of letting me talk about what I want to talk about, that I am a kook.  Yes, I believe things that you have been told that only crazy people believe.  Why would you want to read any more of that nonsense now?  Because it is true and it will impact our future.

I came into a wealth of secret knowledge when I wrote and published my first good novel, Catch a Falling Star.  Of course, like most of the things you research on the internet, ninety-nine per cent of everything is big, black rubber hoo-haw lies.  I researched a lot of things that I have always been fascinated by, but specifically I investigated UFO phenomenon.  I already followed author Stanton Friedman and knew who Bob Lazar was before starting my research, but I wanted to dig deeper and find the truth.  My novel, after all, is about close encounters of the third, fourth, and fifth kinds… including an invisible invasion of Earth from outer space.  I wanted to portray such events as alien contact and alien abduction as realistically as possible.  But then I found stuff like the Disclosure Project headed by Doctor Steven Greer.  Did you know he has been collecting eye-witness and whistle-blower information in written and video form since the 1990’s and presenting it to members of congress?  There is an immense database of information about contact with UFO’s and the government’s response to it that can be cross-referenced and even corroborates itself.  There comes a point at which eye-witness testimony, even loony-sounding testimony, has to be accepted when there is a preponderance of evidence.

The thing that makes the case most strongly for me is the provable amount of cover-up and misdirection that the government has applied to this body of knowledge.  They are still doing it.  NASA footage and photographic records are open to the public and available online.  Lots of people have examined the wealth of evidence very closely and have found things that the government apparently overlooked.  There are also an even more impressive number of identified re-touched and faked photos of the Moon and Mars and especially the Earth from space.  Things have been removed so that we the people will not see.  Some nut-cases even believe we never actually went to the moon.  Some of the moon footage and photos are provably fake.  (But you can also spot the landing sites of the Apollo missions on the surface of the moon with some of the very good telescopes available now… The proof of our moon landings is there.  The stuff was redacted and faked for different reasons… a different cover-up.)

So, why does this matter?  Maybe we are better off being protected from this secret knowledge.  We are too fragile to take it.  There will be riots in the street and the economy will crash.  We are safer being ignorant of all of this.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…no!

It’s time we were given the straight poop (because everybody hates crooked poop… at least they should.)  Our world is dying from pollution and global warming, yet the alien technology can provide clean, free energy.  Rich people are exploiting the poor and the middle class and so much suffering occurs that doesn’t have to happen if we embrace the potential for taking our place in a galactic community that apparently already exists and that we are excluded from solely on the basis of how dangerous our own ignorance makes us.

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The Mirror in the Clown’s Hand

Self-reflection is the bane of stupid people. Essentially, they don’t want to risk encountering evidence that they actually are stupid. It would shatter their world to learn that they are idiots and most of what they believe is true is actually wrong. This fact goes a long way towards explaining why the Republican Party in its current form even exists, let alone the actions of the current mutant Cheetos monster that pilots their agenda and hates healthcare, the Special Olympics, and Puerto Rico.

So, if I am doing a self–reflection piece today, then that proves I am not a stupid person, right? What do you mean you agree with that? Yes, I can actually hear you mentally answering my questions as you read this. And if you believe that, then you have proven that even relatively smart people like you and I are capable of stupid thinking.

I believe in some stupid things, even though I think I am not stupid.

An example of this stupidity factor is my lingering belief that I am a nudist. I mean, I am rarely ever nude any more. I keep most of me covered up constantly because when my psoriasis plaques dry out they tend to flake and itch and force me to scratch to the point of infected bloody sores.

Obviously this is not totally a photograph from the 60’s. That does not make it a total lie either, though.

I have been pretty much accepted as a member of the nudist community on Twitter. I enjoy the artful pictures of nude people they share with me. And since I did a couple of blog posts for nudist websites, there are actually completely nude pictures of me available on the internet. I can be found on Truenudists.com for one, if your eyes can stand the horror. But I have only been to a nudist park, the Bluebonnet Nudist Park in Alvord, Texas. one time as an actual nudist. I can tell you, it was a very hot day even though I was not wearing clothes. I am comfortable with nudity. I am comfortable around nude people. I fully accept it all as a non-sexual thing. But am I really a nudist? Or am I only playing at it? If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I don’t retweet pictures of naked people. I engage a lot with other writers there, and most of them are not also nudists, or even open-minded about naturism. I write about nudists in some of my books, but they are not about nudism, and most of them don’t even mention it. So, what good does it do me to think I am a nudist? Well, the very idea of it does a heckuva good job of embarrassing my wife and daughter. So, I do get some crazy-old-coot satisfaction out of it. Otherwise it simply proves that rational and otherwise intelligent people can be committed to irrational ideas.

I am also of the often mocked and ridiculed opinion that not only are alien beings from other worlds real, they are capable of space travel and have been visiting us for as long as there has been an us. I did not always believe this, however. Before I wrote my novel Catch a Falling Star I believed as Carl Sagan said on the original Cosmos that it is wrong to accept things without proof, and true results are testable. My novel was about aliens who watched a lot of Earther TV and learned to speak English from watching I Love Lucy reruns, I wanted to make the aliens different from humans, but at the same time, alike with humans in the most fundamental ways that translate easily into humor and relatability. Not all of my hero-characters were Earth humans.

Brekka the Telleron tadpole (also a nudist) with her friend Lester the man-eating plant (who only ate her once)

As I did research on the internet (a tool I didn’t have when I originally created the story in the 1970s), I found a ton of researchers and writers and con men and MUFON and the Disclosure Project and nuclear physicists and astronauts Gordon Cooper and Edgar Mitchell who were all believers and mostly not stupid. Wow! What a huge and complicated hoax! Why would anybody believe , based on so little tangible evidence, and so much contradictory evidence, that the government’s position could possibly be right? I learned that I now believed, until significant further proof comes along, that I believe stupidly in alien visitors.

Today’s self-reflection post has now proven that I am a stupid old coot who thinks he is a nudist and an insightful conspiracy theorist. But the results of my look into the mirror have not made me upset about my stupidity. Maybe I am simply satisfied nudism is healthy and the universe is more complex than I am capable of understanding. Whatever the case, that’s enough with the mirror for today. You have to keep such dangerous weapons out of the hands of clowns.

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Wrestling with Themes… Part 5

Other books that are not Hometown Novels need to have themes too.

My novel-writing, book-publishing career began with a Sci-Fi Comedy published with a criminal book-publishing scam that has since gone out of business and was sued to oblivion by authors like me who it cheated.

My novel Aeroquest was a huge moronic mess made from the stories I created as a science-fiction-role-playing game’s game master. It was very loosely based on Frank Herbert’s Dune trilogy and Douglas Adams’s five-book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy (quintilogy?)

It had way too many characters in it (just like Dune.) It had super powers tied to religious practices (just like Dune.) And it had totally ridiculous science and technology in it (just like Hitchhiker’s Guide.)

After I got the publishing rights back from the criminals behind Publish America, I tried to make more sense of it by rewriting it as AeroQuest 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5.

AeroQuest 1 : Stars and Stones

In the first book, Ged Aero and his brother Hamfast Aero are looking to find a safe place for Ged to pursue his trade as a space-safari hunter who is developing a strange psionic power to change his appearance, and eventually his shape and species. Since Ham is a pilot and owns his own space ship, they decide to set out into unknown space to get away from the Thousand Worlds of the Imperium where what Ged is becoming is made illegal.

He then encounters the Prophecy of Zhan (also known in the frontier as the Prophecy of Xan, the Prophecy of Shan, the Prophecy of Cyan, and… well, too complicated to re-explain because all of them identify Ged as the next White Spider of Prophecy, and he is destined to reweave the web of star travel in unknown and forgotten space.)

So, what is the theme? “You can’t solve your problems by running away from yourself.” Yeah, that’s probably it… But, as I said, this novel was a truly big mess that the scammers took advantage of rather than helping.

AeroQuest 2 : Planet of the White Spider

In the second book, among other business zipping from star to star system, Ged has to take on the role of the prophesied White Spider, which it turns out is stepping into the role of being a teacher to a class filled with students who have psionic powers. They turn out to be a mix of space samurai, space cowboys, space nudists, space lizard-people, and Nebulons (an alien race of blue-skinned people nicknamed Space Smurfs.) At the same time, Ham takes up his role as a pilot and warrior in the growing rebellion against the corrupt Imperium.

This book too has a broad general theme; “We are stronger when we make ourselves a part of a diverse group than we are when we stand alone.”

AeroQuest 3 : Juggling Planets

This is the hardest book to create a unified theme for. Ham and his allies are jumping from planet to planet, fighting battles and recruiting new systems into the New Star League. At the same time, Ged is working with his new students to establish a new school and a new way of teaching that optimizes the students’ abilities to deal with cosmic forces and interstellar problems.

The best theme I can make a case for is; “Adding new friends and building their skills is how you best rebel against an old order that is failing more and more people.”

AeroQuest 4 : The Amazing Aero Brothers

This book is written, but not yet published. It is the story of how Ham and the rebels prepare for bigger battles yet to come, and face their first significant losses and reversals of fortune. Ged and his students battle their evil counterparts and only manage to defeat them by crossing moral lines that they never intended to cross.

The overall theme is; “It is harder to stay true to yourself than it is to win a battle.”

AeroQuest 5 : It Ain’t Over Yet!

Yep, it ain’t written yet. Started, but a long way from finished.

So, can I tell you what the major theme of this book is?

NO!

I am still wrestling with this theme. It has me in an illegal headlock.

But, as you probably guessed by now, I have more books to talk about in Part 6. So, beware!

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Star Wars Aliens, Mickified

I spent a good deal of my time as a game master for the Star Wars role-playing game in creating alien characters that fit the movies, the books I read in the Star Wars series, and the game materials.  In this post, I will give you a mini-gallery of the aliens I drew for the game.

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Chee Mobok was a space trader who had a problem with his own ego.  He believed that he was a genius at language and could speak any language he had heard a handful of words from.

The Galactic Common speakers were always laughing at the things he said.

Huttese speakers like Jabba the Hutt were always trying to kill him for saying precisely the wrong thing.

swalien1234567

Hethiss was the Jedi Master when my son’s Jedi character was still a padawan learner.

He was wise, but unable to keep his student from doing things in violent ways when a diplomatic solution was called for.

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Merv was a potential terrorist and a suspect in a series of murders on a water planet.  He was, however, the good badguy character.  You know, the villain who has a heart of gold and whose actions redeem him in the end…  As opposed to a bad goodguy who seems to be a hero and ends up betraying everyone.

swalien12345

Fisonna was a street kid from the same planet and same race as Hethiss the Jedi master.  He had the potential to become a padawan learner.  But he also used his Force skills to pull pranks on serious adults.

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Odo-Ki was a Gotal with the ultra-sensitive cones on his head.  He had a limited ability to see behind walls and predict the near future.

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Nadin Paal was an actual pirate and terrorist with no redeeming qualities at all.  The best thing about him was, that when the time came, he blew up really nicely.  A colorful fireball.

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Kehlor was a Herglic, one of the whale people who required specially built extra-large space ships and accommodations.   He was also a gifted pilot.  You can see that he wears the uniform of the Trade Authority.

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And finally, Klis Joo was a Duro and a Jedi, a gray alien with considerable Force powers.

There were many more drawings like this as well.  But these are some of the best ones.

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Aliens Among Us

Now, in older age, I am beginning to understand the life and work of Stephen Hawking better than ever before. I mean, he ended his life completely unable to move by his own muscle power, but his mind traveled light years and saw things that most of us can’t even begin to understand. My own muscle power is decreasing. Arthritis is confining me more and more to sitting on my bed with my laptop being my means of exploring the universe. That and the power of my imagination (a puny little thing compared to Hawking’s massive one.)

Artist’s interpretation of the Epsilon Eridani System.

http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/epsilon-eridani-system-04831.html

https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sciences/system-of-super-earths-discovered-around-a-nearby-star

The truth is, one of my irrational religious beliefs is that we are not alone in the universe. First of all, there are definitely planets of earth-like composition, size, and position around two neighboring sun-like stars. The two articles I linked to above give you some insight about what we currently know about Epsilon Eridani and Tau Ceti.

Now, information like that goes automatically into my mental salad bowl of imagination where it gets mixed with vegetables of prior learning and gets covered by the salad dressing of fiction-generating speculation (which tastes like spicy Italian.)

So, here’s some prior learning salted with speculations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Hills_84001

Yes, you probably recognize it. There was a Martian meteor found in the Arctic that had in it structures that look amazingly like fossilized bacteria. I know that you can say with some conviction that it hasn’t been generally accepted by science that these are indeed fossilized lifeforms from Mars. But it also has not been proven that are ordinary geological formations, and scientists do generally agree that the Allan Hills 84001 meteorite is actually blasted off the surface of Mars in the distant past. I can’t summarize easily the geological proof of that fact, but you can certainly do the research online yourself.

So the syllogism goes like this;

  1. Life is not only possible but probable elsewhere in the universe.
  2. Epsilon Eridani and Tau Ceti are both places where there are probable places conducive to evolving life.
  3. Therefore those two planetary neighbors in our galactic neighborhood are highly likely to have life. And if they have life, they may also have intelligent life like us.

Because of what the former Israeli space security chief said about a Galactic Federation of aliens recently, I searched out and watched a video by Linda Moulton Howe (the formerly award-winning ecological journalist who is now labelled a “kook” because she turned her attention to UFOs after doing a documentary about cattle mutilations in the Southwest.) In this video, an Anonymous video that I could not share here for the usual reasons, Howe went over a transcript of a briefing Ronald Reagan got from CIA chief William Casey in which they discussed what Majestic 12 knew about alien visitors. They were explicit about the EBEs we made contact with as a result of the two Roswell crashes of 1947. They come from a twin-sun system called Zeta Reticuli. And they acquainted us with at least three other extraterrestrial peoples who are now and long-time have been visiting Earth. One of those is a potentially hostile race believed to be from Epsilon Eridani.

Now, of course, like any religious belief, I can’t prove anything except by faith. Although, based on a large number of events, investigations, and anomalous artifacts, there is probably more proof of my beliefs than there are that Jesus was real. But, consider this, they always point out that if the government was trying to keep this secret from us… well, the government is really bad at keeping secrets. So, where are the aliens?

Well, Nixon showed them to Jackie Gleason in the 1970s.

The government hasn’t kept any secrets very well. Not the U-2, not the SR-71 Blackbird, not the Stealth Fighter… not even the Manhattan Project which the Russians duplicated within a decade. The Roswell crash, the Travis Walton abduction, Eisenhower’s 1950s meeting with aliens at Holliman Air Force Base, all of these things are documented and witnessed to by enough journalists, physicists, soldiers, government officials, deathbed confessions, and whistle-blowers to not be easy to dismiss as lunacy.

So, I say again, I am convinced we are not alone in the universe. I also think they are here already and the government knows that. I have seen UFOs more times than I have fingers, though I know most of them belong to our government. I live in Texas, the home of military air-bases and more nuclear plants than is comfortable. I am not saying I can prove anything. If I could, it would already probably be censored by now and you wouldn’t be reading this. Lying to the public is one thing the government is really good at.

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How to Totally Waste Your Free Time

Yes, editing a book is like giving scissors to a monkey. Things are going to be cut. The cuts will be totally random. And then you need to paste if all back together yourself and try to make sense of it all again while cussing the damned monkey under your breath so that the monkey doesn’t hear it… unless on this project you are your own monkey.

I have now spent about five years taking my first published novel, the crappiest thing I ever wrote, published by the worst piratical publisher ever to board the sailing ship of my writer’s imagination, and expand it by rewriting and adding story elements that I never reached in the original.

It has been a terrible, blood-boiling effort to turn nonsense, corny jokes, numerous real science fiction ideas, and an overly-excited imagination into a coherent story that is intentionally a cross between Frank Herbert’s Dune and Douglas Adama’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

One of the main flaws of the book is the typical imitation-Dune problem of way too many characters to keep track of. Not just characters… too many planets, alien creatures, robots, alien cultures, star-born weirdnesses, and plot curlicues. My solution to this; add in lots of illustrations (I had originally sold the idea to the publishing pirates with illustrations included… which they cut down to five… and then eliminated completely,) and create an extensive set of appendixes that allow confused readers to look up the weird names and nouns that confronted them on every page.

The plot is overly complex and Dune-like specifically because of how it came to be. I was playing a space-based role-playing game called Traveller with three to eight middle school and high school students who were mostly former students of mine in the 1980’s. They created the player characters who become the lead characters in the book. Both the Aero Brothers, Trav Dalgoda, Tron Blastarrr, and many others were created by the boys. They then went on adventures that began in my imagination, but then took their many twists and turns through where the players wanted to go, what they wanted to build, buy, or steal, and what they chose to do about their many life-and-death encounters.

Book 4 is the manuscript, now finished, that I am editing and will soon publish.

I have reached the fun part of the story where critical things begin to happen that make life-and-death changes to the lives of the most important characters.

The end of the original story will occur in the next book of the series. Book 5 has about fifty percent of its content already written. I will have to write and paste in the extended content for the other fifty percent.

It will end up being not the worst novel I have ever written. It will be the worst five novels. Unless the monkey with the scissors works a miracle or two.

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Why My Kids Are Always Embarrassed

Yes, I admit it. I am a goofy old coot and an embarrassment to my children.

That’s my role in life now. Eye rolls abound when I am around.

There are several reasons why, which I intend to list here in detail in order to embarrass my children further. But it basically boils down to the fact that I am a writer, and though I write mostly fiction, another way of saying I lie a lot, a real writer tends to reveal more of the naked truth about himself than a child can stand.

Who wants to see their father naked? Especially when he is old… wrinkled, spotty, and mostly fish-belly white.

Speaking of nakedness, one of the things that my children are most embarrassed about is the fact that I know a lot about nudists and naturists, in fact, I know many real nudists, and I have been nude in at least one social situation with other naked nudists. And, even worse, I admit it in writing where my children and their friends can see it. Of course, none of them read this blog anymore for that reason.

I have written novels where there are nudist characters based on some of the real nudists I have known. The novels with nudist characters in them so far are, Recipes for Gingerbread Children, The Baby Werewolf, Superchicken, The Boy… Forever, and A Field Guide to Fauns. And these novels might not embarrass them so much if they read them to discover that the novels have something to say that really isn’t about their father being a crazy naked coot. But they won’t read them because I am embarrassing to them.

And there is the verified fact that I am something of a conspiracy theorist. I firmly believe that the actor/theater owner William Shakespeare only offered his name to the real writer of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward DeVere. There is actual evidence that is so, though it was a secret that DeVere took to his pauper’s grave after spending away his entire family estates and fortune. A pauper’s grave that no interested scholar can find the location of to this very day, although maybe he’s buried in the same place of honor as the actor/theater owner, as there are cryptic clues to that as well.

I also believe that Dwight Eisenhower met with alien civilizations in the 1950s and the Roswell Incident was a real crash of more than one spacecraft from other star systems. There exist real deathbed confessions that confirm those details, and the government has been covering up the facts for decades.

The conspiracy-theory skills I have as a crazy, embarrassing coot have resulted in books like Catch a Falling Star, Stardusters and Space Lizards, and the Bicycle-Wheel Genius.

And lastly, I was a school teacher in middle schools and high schools for thirty-one years, which means I can create kid-characters in fiction that are very realistic and have a good-but-comic quality that make readers generally like my stories.

So, my children are probably right to be seriously embarrassed by my very existence. Of course, I, like all old coots registered with the Crazy, Embarrassing Coots of America, the CECA, am totally immune to being embarrassed by the embarrassment of my children.

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Filed under aliens, angry rant, autobiography, conspiracy theory, humor, kids, novel writing, nudes, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, William Shakespeare

The Religion of Conspiracy (*not my religion)

I have always had an inquiring mind. That is a curse instead of a plus if your main goal in life is to be happy and unbothered by anything. But it has proved to be of benefit to me as I have become an old coot who actually cares about what is true. Yes, I am willing to personally suffer to bring to light that which is actually true and that which must be disbelieved before it truly hurts us.

Don’t judge me yet based on this next question;

“Did you know that the Democratic party is funded by billionaires who want to use the “Deep State” to promote their Satanic rituals involving the murder and cannibalistic consumption of human children?”

I hope you know that I would never promote such a thing as being true. I am even careful of posting this pernicious lie in a question rather than a statement, because that’s one of the tactics the malign promoters of this religious belief use, not actually stating something that will be contradicted immediately, but taken merely as something to be considered and discussed simply because it is offered in question form.

So, how do you tackle such dangerous nonsense?

I prefer the scientific method which provides the structure for your thinking that will keep you on the most likely paths that lead you to what is true and what is not.

  1. Facts should be confirmed by multiple verifiable sources.

We don’t talk much about cold fusion nowadays because when it was discovered in 1989 by a pair of electrochemists whose single experiment produced more heat than what should result from the energy put into the tabletop experiment, it quickly blossomed into the huge, major breakthrough story that it really would’ve been if only it had been verified. But, as is required by the entire scientific community, it couldn’t be reproduced in more repeats of the experiment than those that turned out negative. So, even though Pons and Fleischman did an experiment that answered the dreams of science-fiction nerds like me, they are mostly ignored by now. Cold fusion? Only one flawed source, studied in 1989 and proved still basically untrue in 2004 by a multitude of scientists who wanted it to be true.

Consider the source for Q-Anon conspiracies. One (or possibly more) anonymous government whistle-blowers whose credentials have never been presented or identities revealed, and mind-blowing statements appearing on places like 4-Chan, 8-Chan, and Parlor to be picked up and amplified on such reliable sources of scientifically proven knowledge as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I hope you understand sarcasm after making that last statement.

Q-Anon is not the only conspiracy religion out there. My friend Giorgi (above) has a more benign, but no less ridiculous religion that chooses to replace God Jehovah, Zeus, Odin, Buddha, and other religious figures and deities with Ancient Aliens.

Here’s a second and third test offered by Carl Sagan to use against their ideas;

2. Encourage debate from knowledgeable people from all identifiable perspectives.

3. Do not accept arguments only from positions of authority.

Q-Anon arguments only have the authority of repetition because social media endlessly asks the same “questions” over and over. There is no debate from any recognizable “authority,” just a plethora of unsubstantiated statements and commandments.

In a way, the Ancient-Aliens crowd is guilty of the same thing. They never have skeptics and debunkers on their History-Channel show. You never see Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptics Society, offering his opinions of their conclusions on that show. Neither do they allow Christian theologians or Buddhist scholars to offer their take on what probably really happened. They do employ physicists, engineers, and historians on their show, but never the ones that don’t agree with their radical theories and conclusions. Since there is no real debate on that show and no identifiable peer review, that show does not qualify as History, let alone Science.

4. Don’t get overly attached to your own ideas.

If you are going to investigate any conspiracy that holds thrall a number of “true believers,” approach everything with a truly open mind. I actually believe alien beings from “out there” have visited Earth. That is based on things, science, and testimony I haven’t even begun to go into here. But I reserve my right to be skeptical about everything, especially my own prejudices, theories, and beliefs. Otherwise I could too easily get trapped into believing in the truth of something that I otherwise would recognize as false. This is the factor that has pulled so many of my otherwise sensible Republican friends onto the flypaper of spurious Q-Anon claims.

5. Use numbers wherever possible. Math is quantifiable information that can “prove” the facts better than most ideas expressed in mere language. It is more precise, and reveals truth in verifiable ways that no poet ever could.

I am known to some in my family (here you could read wife and sisters) as the family conspiracy nut and generally crazy old coot.

But I am not so crazy that I don’t recognize the dangers inherent in some the ideas I am talking about here. As an English teacher I have learned some effective thinking skills that protect me and mine. I can honestly tell you that these thinking skills explained here will help you too. I learned them from a friend who pointed me to Carl Sagan as the source of these thinking skills.

And to any of my friends who might read this post and be offended, I apologize. But you were wrong about Pizzagate, and you are on the wrong side of this too. Aliens probably did NOT build the pyramids. But logic IS the primary structure of this essay.

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Filed under aliens, conspiracy theory, humor, insight, Liberal ideas, religion, strange and wonderful ideas about life, tinfoil hats