Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Anniversary Kevin Arnold

Sixty-four years ago, on June 24, 1947, Air Force pilot Kevin Arnold reported that he had seen several silver flying discs from his plane that moved like stones skipping over water.

Arnold's description of the objects as 'disc shaped' led to invention of the term 'flying saucer', and the modern era of ufology was born. Arnold later modified his report to say that some of the discs were shaped more like flying arcs (see photo).

Kenneth Arnold had over 9,000 hour in flight and was widely respected both within and outside of the military. He claimed that he was not worried about the sighting at first because he assumed the discs were classified U.S. military aircraft.

When that assumption turned out not to be the case (so far as we know), Arnold became more involved in the investigation of UFOs, interviewing several witnesses and contactees and eventually writing a book on the topic.

Some UFO researchers and conspiracy theorists (i.e., Bruce Macabbee, Jim Marrs) claim Arnold had seen UFOs over Yakima Washington and even had some contact with military intelligence agents (either knowingly or unknowingly) in early 1947, before his famous sighting.

Whether or not that is true, after a few years Arnold refused to talk about UFOs any further and began to decline all interviews.

Make of it all what you will.

If nothing else, these claims prove that dissembling and controvery are par for the course when it comes to UFOs, and have been from day one.

And that is a fact you can take to the bank.

UFOs have been seen in the skies and reported in detail for millennia of course (see the recent book, Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times, by Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck), but Kevin Arnold's sighting is widely regarded as the beginning of the 20th century incarnation of these elusive phenomena.

Whether you believe, just want to believe, or think it's all total rot, why not celebrate?

Have some star jelly on your toast today.

Make cupcakes!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Super 8 and Alien Anger Management Issues

The new J.J. Abrams movie "Super 8" could have been called "Cloverfield Goes to Steeltown and by the Way I Really Like Stephen Spielberg," but that doesn't roll off the tongue as easily, and it doesn't fit on the screen any easier than its rampaging (but mostly absent) extraterrestrial star.

Basically a monster movie set up as an homage to Spielberg's "ET: The Extraterrestrial," "Super 8" is less sugary and hopeful than Spielberg's alien offerings, but tamer and less noisy than Michael Bay's roller coaster ride of back to back explosions (i.e. "Transformers").

Oh, there's lots of explosions and noise in "Super 8," but the young actors are great and the story is good too.

I liked it.

But then, I like ALL monster movies, with alien movies being a close second, so you can't totally trust my judgment.

Watching "Super 8," it did hit me how much aliens have changed since Spielberg first gave us that cute little bug-eyed thing with a glowing finger and a heart light. By the time "Close Encounters" came out, aliens were still friendly, though more mysterious.

But then we got the "Alien" series with Sigourney Weaver and that black bitch creature dripping acid (really they were mirror image bitch creatures, very cool, Ridley), and then came the Predator series, and then "Independence Day", so that today, 30 years post-Super-8 setting (Super 8 takes place in the 80s, when Abrams came of age), you can pretty much count on aliens being pissed off, even if it is only because they are so misunderstood.

So basically, we've seen aliens morph into really scary incarnations of the Goddess: Kali, maybe. And that's interesting because 4,000 years ago the Goddess is exactly who these big-eyed critters served. (See image, left.)

Monsters are almost always about the Goddess or an incarnation thereof, and the connections in "Super 8" are obvious enough to knock you out.

(I won't spoil the movie by describing any of them here.)

"Super 8" isn't a great movie, and it isn't Spielberg, but it isn't "Lost" either. It's a fantastic 'B' movie though. I hope more are in the works.

If the 'B' monster movie comes back, I will be one happy camper.

In the meantime, go see "Super 8" if it's really hot out and you need a break.

Take the kids. Buy popcorn.

Just don't expect an epiphany. (It's a MOVIE for chrissakes!)