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Flying Saucers and the Roswell Incident

Professor Meade Layne has begun his study of UFO contact reports. Don't get too excited. Layne is an English professor at the University of California, but he can read a contact report as well as anyone. These reports are coming from trained pilots who are seeing lights in the skies. Some of these lights are trailing their aircraft. Other lights are traveling at high speed and making fantastic, and frankly, impossible maneuvers. The public has taken an interest due to the fear of a Soviet attack on the USA which is probably why a recent report of a "flying pie-plate" has made the national news. Flying saucers, alien abductions, and "Men in Black" will be on the agenda for now on. And one more thing... something has crashed near Roswell, New Mexico. The government boys show up lickety split, and carry away something that looks like body bags. In a press release the government admits that they have recovered a "flying disc". They retract that statement the next day, and call it a weather balloon carrying experimental dummies with instrument packages. Very strange. Then the whole incident is marked classified. Apparently weather experiments are "classified" nowadays. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
First of all, let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt. The world has changed radically. Atomic bombs, radio, TV, and Flash Gordon have made people aware that the world is not as solid and sure as they once believed. (FYI, it is still not solid and sure.) So... in those days it was easy to believe in Men from Mars or Soviet super-weapons. Most likely it really was an experimental balloon designed to fly over the Soviet Union to take pictures. Are there other explanations that fit the data? Yes, and some of them are pretty wacky, but the one explanation that does not fit is: "An alien visitor from outer space." The US Air Force began to categorize these UFO sightings as part of Project Blue Book. They called them "Close Encounters" and if that sounds like a good title for a movie, you are correct. A Close Encounter of the Third Kind is a... "visual sighting of UFO occupants or passengers". BUT the sightings have been so frequent that we would have had solid evidence of such visits by now if it were so. And... what is that thing you are holding? FLASH! Oh. Never mind. It was just swap gas trapped in a thermal pocket reflecting the light of Venus... and I'll get a decorator in here fast. Thanks. [3]

Jackie Robinson Makes It to the Majors

"I want you to be a whirling demon against the Dodgers. I want you to concentrate, to hit that ball, to get on base by any means necessary. I want you to run wild, to steal the pants off them, to be the most conspicuous player on the field--but conspicuous only because of the kind of baseball you're playing."
-- General Manager Branch Rickey speaking to Jackie Robinson, a black man playing in the minors in 1947. [4]

When Jackie Robinson sees injustice he points it out, but he realizes what he has become... a wedge that will open the door for other black baseball players. Branch Rickey wants to push that door open, but he can't do it with an angry black man. First impressions are precious things. He knows Jackie will be taunted, insulted and even assaulted. Robinson was a 1st Lieutenant in the war. He made it through the military. He will make it through this. The Dodger players don't want to play with a black man, but Manager Leo Durocher says that he wants Robinson to sign with the Dodgers. Leo is suspended from baseball for a year "for conduct detrimental to baseball". His suspension involves several controversies that could hurt the Dodgers, so the only thing left to do is to sign Jackie Robinson. That pushes the other controversies off the front page, and places Jackie center stage. It's going to be a wild ride, but the deed is done.

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Compared to what my father went through, I have never experienced racism. I have experienced boneheads who look like fools when they realize that I look like a Mexican, but I speak perfect, unaccented English. My granddaughter has experienced the same as she works her way through college at the fast food counter. She asks for their order, and it takes some people by surprise that she doesn't sound like a moron! This is Austin, Texas, and I'm very glad to live here because southern California is worse! Somehow those turkeys think that because they are on the side of the Angels (the baseball team in Anaheim) that they can dump on minorities, and not think twice about it. Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of good people out there who simply make mistakes. It happens, but it happens a lot less in Texas.

Uncovering the Dead Sea Scrolls and Academic Pettiness

As the story goes, a young Bedouin goat herder throws a rock into a cave and hears shattering pottery. He crawls in with his friend and finds ancient scrolls made of leather and stored in pottery. The cave is less than 2 miles from the Dead Sea which is why these scrolls are often called the Dead Sea Scrolls. The boys take the scrolls to a fellow in Bethlehem who, in turn, offers it to an antiquities dealer for 20 pounds, but apparently 20 pounds is too much to pay. The Bedouins finally find a buyer in Jerusalem. The scrolls are so damaged that one can barely tell what they are, but it is clear that the main scroll is the Book of Isaiah. It is priceless. [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
One must approach these texts with caution. Some of the scrolls are copies of the Hebrew Scripture. Others are filled with secret symbolism. They are of limited value to Christians because the scrolls mostly cover a period prior to the birth of Jesus. A group of scholars were assigned the task of preserving the scrolls and their writing. This was the academic dream of a lifetime, and it was expected that eventually these scholars would release the scrolls for inspection by the academic world at large. As the years passed, impatience grew. What were they hiding? Actually, nothing. These original scholars were attempting to fortify their personal academic positions by controlling information and later handing down their prize to a select few anointed ones. After 44 years the Huntington Library allowed access to photographs of the scrolls despite objections, and the free flow of information was restored. [6] [7] [8]

Notable Births

  • Mitt Romney (Living): Gov. of Massachusetts and presidential candidate. [9]
  • Hillary Clinton (Living): First Lady, and presidential candidate. (I can't wait for Chelsea to run... uh... actually, I can wait.) [9]
  • Dan Quayle (Living): V.P. under Bush the Elder. (The media made him into a joke.) [9]
  • Camille Paglia (Living): Feminist, professor and an essayist worth reading. (I'm not kidding.) [9]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Arnold Schwarzenegger (Living): Gov. of California, "The Terminator" and substitute host for Donald Trump. [9]
  • -- O. J. Simpson (Living): Football star, comedy actor, and now a prisoner. (Good athlete, fine actor, but bad at everything else.) [10]
  • -- Elton John (Living): Songwriter and singer at Rush Limbaugh's wedding. [9]
  • -- Tom Clancy: His "Jack Ryan" series lives on, but his co-authors have yet to match his writing skills. [9]
  • -- Stephen King (Living): I hear he writes books. I'll have to check him out, someday. [9]

**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked.

This Year in Film

  • Road to Rio: One of many comedy "Road to..." pictures starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. [11]
  • Miracle on 34th Street: A Christmas favorite starring a very young Natalie Wood. (She really believed he was Santa.) [11]
  • Gentleman's Agreement: A journalist poses as a Jew to understand antisemitism in New York City. (Jews and blacks were limited in housing, colleges and certain jobs at the time. Indeed, I was locked out of a job for being a Jew. F* them.) [11]

This Year in Music

  • Near You: Francis Craig. It will become a #1 country hit when George Jones and Tammy Wynette sing it again in 1976. [12]
  • Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah: Won the Academy Award for best original song from Disney's Song of the South. [12]
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: Frank Sinatra. [12]

In Other News

  • The Doomsday Clock is 7 minutes to midnight: The clock appears on the cover of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. (Today it also measures climate change disaster.) [13] [14]
  • Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier. He takes the Bell rocket plane X1 to mach 1. [15]
  • The AK-47 goes into production: AK-47 stands for "Kalashnikov's Automatic of 1947". [13] [16]
  • The Volkswagen Beetle comes to America: Volkswagen means "People's Car". Imagined by Hitler and designed by Porsche, it has survived as a German product only because the Brits don't want it. [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1947, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Flying saucer - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 25 June 2015. “While disc-shaped flying objects have been interpreted as being sporadically recorded since the Middle Ages, the first highly publicized sighting by Kenneth Arnold on June 24, 1947, resulted in the creation of the exact term by U.S. newspapers. Although Arnold never specifically used the term 'flying saucer', he was quoted at the time saying the shape of the objects he saw was like a 'saucer', 'disc', or 'pie-plate', and several years later added he had also said 'the objects moved like saucers skipping across the water.' Both the terms flying saucer and flying disc were used commonly and interchangeably in the media until the early 1950s.”
  2. Brad Meltzer. History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time. Workman Publishing Company, Inc.. ISBN 9780761178651. “On June 24, 1947, a businessman and private pilot named Kenneth Arnold was piloting his airplane near Mount Rainier, Washington, when he saw . . . something.” 
  3. Men in Black (1997) - Quotes - IMDb. imdb.com (2017). Retrieved on 7 February 2017. “
    Kay: All right, Beatrice, there was no alien. The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.
    Jay: Wait a minute. You just flash that thing, it erases her memory, and you just make up a new one?
    Kay: A standard issue neuralyzer.
    Jay: And that weak-ass story's the best you can come up with?
    Kay: On a more personal note Beatrice, Edgar ran off with an old girlfriend. You're gonna go stay with your mom a couple nights. You're gonna get over it and decide you're better off.
    Jay: Well, yeah, you know, 'cause 'cause he never appreciated you anyway. In fact, you know what - you kicked HIM out! And now that he's gone you're gonna go into town, you go to Bloomingdale's and find some nice dresses, get yourself some shoes, you know, find somewhere, maybe you can get a facial. And, uh, oh - hire a decorator to come in here quick, 'cause... DAMN.”
  4. I Never Had It Made. Putnam. ISBN 0399110100. “
    "I want you to be a whirling demon against the Dodgers," he said. "I want you to concentrate, to hit that ball, to get on base by any means necessary. I want you to run wild, to steal the pants off them, to be the most conspicuous player on the field—but conspicuous only because of the kind of baseball you're playing. Not only will you impress the Dodger players, but the stories that the newspapermen send back to the Brooklyn and New York newspapers will help create demand on the part of the fans that you be brought up to the majors."
    With this kind of marching order, I simply had to give my best. I batted .625 and stole seven bases during seven Royals-Dodgers games. Not even this made the Brooklyn players ask for me as Mr. Rickey had hoped. He had wanted, when promoting me, to appear to be giving in to tremendous pressure from my teammates-to-be.”
  5. Burrows, Millar. Dead Sea Scrolls, The. Viking Press. 
  6. Vermès, Géza. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English. Allen Lane/Penguin Press. ISBN 9780140278071. 
  7. Eisenman, Robert H.. The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered: The First Complete Translation and Interpretation of 50 Key Documents withheld for over 35 Years. Barnes & Noble Books. ISBN 9781566196239. 
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: I obviously glossed over a number of issues and over simplified for the sake of getting to the point... which is... scholars can sometimes be petty.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 1947 Births - Wikipedia (2017).
  10. 1947 Births - Wikipedia (2017).
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 1947 in film - Wikipedia (2017).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 1947 in music - Wikipedia (2017).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 1947 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  14. The Doomsday Clock Is Reset: Closest To Midnight Since The 1950s : The Two-Way : NPR (January 26, 2017). Retrieved on 6 February 2017. “The minute hand on the Doomsday Clock ticked closer to midnight Thursday, as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said it's seeing an increase in dangers to humanity, from climate change to nuclear warfare. The group took the 'unprecedented' step of moving the clock 30 seconds closer to midnight, to leave it at 2 1/2 minutes away.”
  15. Chuck Yeager - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 23 June 2016. “After the war, Yeager became a test pilot of many types of aircraft, including experimental rocket-powered aircraft. As the first human to officially break the sound barrier, on October 14, 1947, he flew the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700 m).”
  16. Fisk, Robert (July 2001). "Interview with Mikhail Kalashnikov". The World Press Review 48 (7). http://www.worldpress.org/cover5.htm. Retrieved 7 February 2017. "'I was in the hospital, and a soldier in the bed beside me asked: 'Why do our soldiers have only one rifle for two or three of our men, when the Germans have automatics?’ So I designed one. I was a soldier, and I created a machine gun for a soldier. It was called an Avtomat Kalashnikova, the automatic weapon of Kalashnikov—AK—and it carried the date of its first manufacture, 1947.'". 

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