Sunday, July 27, 2008

UFO Reality

In 1971, Dr. Edgar Mitchell (PhD from M.I.T.) was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 14 moon mission. He, along with fellow astronaut Alan Shepard, holds the record for the longest moon walk ever.

On July 4, 2008, Dr. Mitchell appeared on the "Larry King Live" program on CNN and claimed that high ranking officials, both military and civilian, have told him that the UFO phenomenon is a reality and in part a non-human gathering of intelligence of Planet Earth and the human race.

On July 23, 2008, Dr. Mitchell made the same assertions on a London radio station interview, stating that he was aware of many UFO visits to Earth during his career with NASA, but each one was covered up. .

"I've been in military and intelligence circles, who know that beneath the surface of what has been public knowledge..." Dr. Mitchell claims, "We've been visited on this planet and the UFO phenomena is real. It's been well covered up by all our governments for the last 60 years or so, but slowly it's leaked out and some of us have been privileged to have been briefed on some of it."

He also confirmed an extraterrestrial craft crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.

On July 4, 1947, several reliable witnesses saw a distant object crash to the earth near Roswell, New Mexico. This unidentified object was spotted on Army Air Force radar and an armed unit was dispatched to the area.

Later, Mack Brazel discovered a large amount of unusual debris scattered over his ranch near Roswell.

Major Jesse Marcel, intelligence officer of the 509th Bomb Group at the Roswell Army Air Field, had personally gone to the Brazel Ranch to recover the wreckage. He described the metal as being incredibly tough, yet paper thin. It couldn't be burned or cut, and contained strange inscriptions.

On July 8, 1947, Lieutenant Walter Haut, public relations officer, issued a statement to the press that began, "The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence officer of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc."

The following day, on the orders from the base commander, Colonel William Blanchard, Lt. Haut issued a subsequent press release explaining that the previously reported flying disc had actually been a weather balloon.

Lt. Haut died in 2006. He left a sworn affidavit to be opened only after his death. That statement was made public in June of 2007. In it, Haut asserts that the weather balloon claim was a bogus story to cover up the truth.

According to Haut, the real unidentified flying object (UFO) had been recovered by the military and stored in a hanger. Haut also declared that he had seen the recovered craft, as well as several recovered alien bodies.

He described the craft as being a 15-foot by 6-foot egg-shaped object with no windows, no wings, no tail and no landing gear. The recovered bodies were approximately four feet tall with disproportionately large heads.

For decades, local Roswell undertaker Glenn Dennis claimed that he had been summoned by an officer at the Army Air Field to deliver four "child-sized" coffins to the base, which he did, shortly after the crash incident.

Haut's sworn affidavit went on to mention a meeting he had with base commander Col. Blanchard and the Commander of the Eighth Army Air Force, General Roger Ramey, and others. They examined the wreckage material and were unable to identify it. Plans were made to divert public attention away from the incident and recover debris from both sites. There had also been a second crash site that was kept from the public.

Col. Phillip J. Corso was a Pentagon Army Intelligence officer and former Inspector General of the 7th Army. He wrote a book in 1997 (shortly before his death) titled THE DAY AFTER ROSWELL. He went into great detail about the cover-up of the UFO crash near Roswell, and about how he and Lt. Gen. Arthur Trudeau, the chief of U.S. Army Research and Development, used some of the debris from the crash to conduct further military research.

Either Haut, Marcel, Brazel, Dennis and Corso are all liars and trying to pull an elaborate prank on the American public or they're telling the truth. And if they're telling the truth, it means that one or more UFOs crashed in New Mexico in 1947 and our government has withheld the truth from us for some 60 years now.

Astronaut Gordon Cooper (1927 -- 2004) wrote a book in 2000 titled LEAP OF FAITH. He described how he chased UFOs as an Air Force pilot while stationed in Germany in 1951. He also wrote about how he shot film of a UFO encounter from Gemini 5 that was quickly classified by President Johnson and confiscated.

In the final paragraph, Cooper wrote, "For many years I have lived with a secret, in a secrecy imposed on all specialists and astronauts. I can now reveal that every day, in the USA, our radar instruments capture objects of form and composition unknown to us."

Haut, Marcel, Brazel, Dennis, Corso, astronaut Mitchell, astronaut Cooper, a former director of the CIA, the former chief of the British Royal Navy, highly ranked military personnel, prominent government officials and others have all stepped forward to reveal the truth about the UFO phenomenon.

Yet the mainstream media scoffs at the mere mention of UFOs and it provides fodder for late night TV comedians.

On July 24, 2008, the evening following Dr. Mitchell's London radio interview, David Letterman's Top Ten List was the top ten excuses NASA hasn't revealed UFO contact.

1) Our leader isn't as bright as their leader
2) Busy trying to confirm evidence of A-Rod/Madonna sex video
3) Too upset to talk after what happened to Pluto
4) No number 4 – writer abducted by aliens
5) Hey chillax, bro
6) We were waiting to reveal it on a very special episode of "The Tyra Banks Show"
7) Been sort of preoccupied with this giant asteroid that's headed toward Earth
8) Too much Tang
9) We would like to visit these aliens but gas is so damn expensive
10) Didn't think it was a big deal

Of course, the real reason is that the government wants to keep the cycle of production and consumption going full throttle without any distractions. The revelation of the validity of UFO activity might cause fear and panic, thereby hampering the primary objective of the government which is to sustain its ferocious appetite for growth.

Most of the human race goes through life in a hypnotic state, too apprehensive to accept the truth, or too self-centered to give a damn. They're trapped in a system of self-imposed slavery, obedient to an illusion, struggling to acquire things, oblivious of unperceivable truths. They would rather be comfortable with their false view of reality, or their escapism from reality, than to learn the true nature of existence.

We are not alone.

Quote of the Day -- "The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it." Morpheus (from THE MATRIX)


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Finger Salutes on Country Roads

Country dudes who travel the back roads of rural America tend to salute an approaching vehicle with a hand gesture utilizing one or more fingers.

Being a former City Slicker who has slowly evolved into a Country Bumpkin over the years, I've learned there's a definite etiquette to finger salutes.

First of all, this is a man thing. If you finger salute a woman, she either thinks she has a flat tire or you're some sort of pervert, both common occurrences on dusty, lonely roads. But if a woman finger salutes you, it’s probably your wife or girlfriend, and she’s in a bad mood.

Finger saluting is only done on isolated slow terrain, mostly dirt roads. Usually men who salute other men live somewhere down the road, at least a mile or more from a small town.

Never finger salute within fifty miles of an actual city, a place that has more than one stoplight or a building higher than two stories. City slickers take exception to any sort of finger salute and may make a quick U-turn to discuss the matter.

There are several different salutes, each with its own meaning, always performed by the hand on top of the steering wheel.

The raised index finger is the most common. This generally means “howdy.”

The raised middle finger is another matter. Don’t ever use this salute unless you have lots of tattoos and a gun rack in your rear window with at least one shotgun visible at all times. This is the “fight or flight” salute, which means you either want to engage in a physical altercation or you want to be chased across a couple of county lines by angry strangers.

The raised ring finger is also a no-no. This is a difficult finger to raise by itself and is often mistaken for the raised middle finger.

The raised pinky finger is also not a wise move unless you’re a hairdresser or an interior decorator. If you get the same salute in return, perhaps you have found that special someone to do your nails.

The raised two fingers, the index and middle finger, is my favorite. It has multiple meanings so you usually can’t go wrong. To ancient hippies, it’s the old “peace” sign of the ‘60’s. To conservatives, it’s the “victory” sign Richard Nixon used to wave, with both hands, whenever he felt giddy or had too much scotch. To most everyone else, it means “howdy, howdy.”

The last alternative is raising all four fingers. This is somewhat rare, often done by overly enthusiastic people who want to sell you something. It’s also used by daring young men who want to prove they can steer a vehicle with just their thumb.

Another consideration is the sequence of events. Sometimes when you give a finger salute, the other guy doesn’t give one in return. This can be very humiliating. Usually, I’ll wait until the other guy gives me a salute first. Then I try to give him one back instantaneously so he’ll think we did it at the same time. I figure it’s more sociable if done simultaneously.

Even more humiliating is giving a finger salute then realizing it’s actually a woman. Often from a distance it’s hard to tell the driver’s gender. Some back road women tend to resemble middle linebackers.

The most intriguing aspect of finger salutes is that you only see the hand on the steering wheel. The other hand is never in sight. I often wonder what it’s up to but can only speculate.

If you’re looking for some excitement in your life, give the middle finger salute to the next pickup truck occupied by more than one yahoo. Look the driver straight in the eye and smile menacingly. It also helps to mouth some words, even if you can’t be heard.

Then simply wait for the adventure to begin – it shouldn’t take too long.

Just make sure you’re buckled up and have a full tank of gas because you’re going to very busy behind the wheel for a while.


Quote for the Day – "I escaped the big-city Rat Race a couple of decades ago and have found peace on a dusty road deep in the Boondocks. I now live where all the beautiful people live. Unfortunately, I'm the first to arrive." Bret

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Three Great Fears

A prominent New York psychiatrist once declared that there were three basic human fears -- change, rejection and failure.

Having spent a life of change, rejection and failure, I tend to disagree. In fact, I’m probably an expert in these three areas.

Change isn’t exactly frightening, but it sure is irritating.

I’ve had 52 different addresses, in 12 states.

In college, I majored in mathematics, trying to decide between architecture and geological engineering. I ended up in computer science instead.

I started my career as a computer programmer, only to be drafted into the US Army, where I helped bring the Vietnam Conflict to a draw.

I returned to my civilian job and later went back to college to get my Masters degree.

Subsequently, I bounced from one computer job to another, working my way up the managerial and salary ladder, until I finally became an independent contractor, where I bounced even more often between clients and assignments.

Along the way, I studied screenwriting and wrote three screenplays.

Somewhere along the line, I was married for six years.

Not long after I hit age 40, I quit the rat race and went off into the Arizona desert prospecting for gold for six years.

After that wore off, I wrote four novels, which were eventually published a few years later.

Then I did some more computer work during the Y2K era, followed by a stint with the 2000 US Census, started writing a newspaper column in 2001 and began teaching college computer courses the same year.

Next year, I may be a brain surgeon, rocket scientist or rodeo clown. I’ve had so many changes in my life, I have to stick notes on my refrigerator to keep track of who I am and what I’m suppose to be doing this week.

Change is more troublesome than scary. It’s also a new challenge, a new start in life. Perfection will never be attained and the outcome is never certain, but often things can be changed for the better. If you can take a couple of steps forward for every step backward, you're on the right path.

Rejection isn’t very frightening either. You have no idea how much rejection you can endure until you’ve written a few screenplays and novels. I have a stack of rejection slips that weighs more than a peck of pickled peppers.

But if you believe in yourself, you just keep moving forward with a positive attitude.

Nothing truly worth achieving ever comes easy.

Being rejected for your artistic expression by some unknown agent or publisher is one thing, but being rejected by someone you’re attracted to is hard to take. There’s nothing more humiliating than being seen as unworthy by someone you admire.

But I don’t allow rejection to upset me; I just assume the other person is a tasteless idiot.

To fear failure is to fear life. You can’t fail at something until you attempt to do something. And when you finally get up enough nerve to try and fall flat on your face, it usually means you’ve learned something.

You can’t succeed without trying and almost everyone stumbles a few times along the way. The more you fail, the more you learn, and the closer you are to success.

Change, rejection and failure should be embraced, not feared. Confronting and overcoming fear is how we grow stronger. After all, suffering builds character.

I have my own set of fears. In no particular order, they include:

1) Women
2) Spiders and snakes
3) Women
4) The edge of a cliff
5) Women

I now reside alone, deep in the boondocks, far from cliffs. Four down and one to go.

Quote for the Day – Our greatest fear is the fear to be our true selves.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

TWA Flight 800

On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 took off from Kennedy Airport in New York, with 230 people aboard, heading for Paris, France. Ten minutes into the flight, the Boeing 747 was climbing at about 400 miles per hour, 8 miles off the coast of Long Island.

At 13,800 feet, the airplane exploded in midair.

There were no survivors.

The FBI interviewed over 700 witnesses of the incident and 270 of them claimed to have seen a ball of light (similar to a missile) streak from the surface up into the sky, followed by the massive explosion of the aircraft.

Two Air National Guard helicopter pilots were on a training mission, over the ocean, heading back to their base on Long Island. A few thousand feet below Flight 800, heading directly toward it, they saw a red-orange flare-like object heading skyward. Then there was a small explosion, followed immediately by a large explosion.

A U.S. Navy electronic technician was traveling on a US Air Jet, gazing out the window, when he spotted a "flare" rising from below. Soon, there was a small midair explosion, followed by a much bigger explosion.

Hundreds of witnesses have given similar accounts of an object streaking skyward just prior to the explosion.

The timing of this incident on July 17, a special holiday in the Muslim world, is important.

Coincidentally, there was an El Al 747 (Israeli airlines) flight scheduled to take off out of Kennedy at about the same time as TWA Flight 800 but it was running late. It would be an obvious prime target for Muslim terrorists.

In June of 1996, members of several terrorist groups held a meeting in Tehran, Iran. Soon thereafter, three weeks before TWA Flight 800 was downed, the U.S. Air Force barracks (Khobar Towers) in Saudi Arabia were attacked by a truck bomb, killing 19 and wounding 372 military personnel. President Clinton immediately placed the military on the highest alert since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The 1996 Olympics opening ceremonies were about to get underway in Atlanta on July 19. The entire world was focused on the USA at the time.

Following the explosion, the Coast Guard issued an alert to all boats in the area to report their position, which they did. However, according to radar sightings, one boat was spotted heading away from the crash site at high speed. For months, the FBI denied the existence of this boat, but finally admitted it. It has never been identified.

Shortly after the incident, an amateur video of the surface-to-air missile attack was aired on MSNBC. It was only shown a couple of times before it was quickly seized by the FBI and has never been made public since.

Two days later, the London Times reported (quoting senior Iranian officials) that an Iranian terrorist group called the Islamic Change Movement took credit for the attack on TWA Flight 800.

Soon thereafter, Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff, held a press conference and stated that no one had taken credit for an act of terrorism.

In order to convince the public it was an accident, the CIA produced an animation video blaming fumes in the center fuel tank (which was empty) for the cause of the explosion on Flight 800, claiming that witnesses who believed they had observed a missile ascend into the sky had simply noticed a trail of burning jet fuel streaming downward.

Nearly every TWA pilot, Boeing engineer and independent aviation expert who has seen the video believes it could not have happened as portrayed.

But why would the Clinton Administration cover-up a missile attack?

Bill Clinton was up for reelection in November of 1996. If Americans had learned the country was vulnerable to terrorist attacks, there would have been dire political consequences.

A terrorist attack on America would have spoiled the Olympics about to get underway in Atlanta and created tons of negative publicity, making Clinton seem vulnerable and weak. Republicans are generally considered to be stronger in national defense than Democrats which would have had a direct impact on the upcoming presidential election just a few months away.

Complicating matters, there could be another possible explanation for a missile strike on TWA Flight 800.

A military zone off the coast of Long Island, called W-105, was "active" on July 17, 1996. The U.S. Navy had deployed a warship (Normandy) and three submarines (Trepang, Wyoming and Albuquerque) within the zone. It's possible, although unlikely, that an errant missile had been fired from a U.S. Navy vessel on maneuvers.

During that summer, there had been five live missile firings along the Atlantic seaboard. These missiles would have dummy warheads, the same size and weight of real warheads but which do not explode on impact. However, a heat-seeking dummy missile would ripe through an aircraft near the engines causing an explosion of the fuel tanks.

The Wyoming, a nuclear ballistic missile submarine, had just been sent out on sea trials during this military exercise. But something reportedly went wrong, delaying the commissioning of the Wyoming. The Wyoming's Captain and Executive officer were subsequently relieved of command.

Once again, if this had been a military snafu, the Clinton Administration would have been blamed for the incident, causing adverse publicity and popularity. Just as with a terrorist attack, a cover-up would be more advantageous than to announce to the world that we shot down one of our own passenger planes while goofing around playing war games.

Incidentally, there's never been a similar explosion of a 747, before or since.

If this "accident" had actually been an explosion in an empty center fuel tank, the FAA would have grounded and recalled every 747 in operation at the time, but they didn't.

Boeing Aircraft tried to duplicate the "accident" but failed to do so. Boeing engineers were unable to create a scenario where a plane would blow up under similar conditions, either through live testing or using their Cray Supercomputers to simulate the incident.

It simply couldn't have happened the way the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) claimed it had happened. And if it did, their actions afterward would have been much different.

On July 17, 2008, the twelfth anniversary of the tragedy, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced that all 747s will be required to undergo a retrofitting of a device that will prevent empty center fuel tanks from exploding in the future. The cost will be several hundred thousand dollars per plane for each of the 2, 730 aircraft affected. The total cost is estimated to be $1.2 billion. The industry has nine years to comply.

Once again, the lack of urgency to keep passenger airplanes from blowing up in midair due to a faulty fuel tank design, over the next nine years, is evidence that this was a smokescreen from the beginning.

It's always comforting to know our government is taking such good care of us. We'll just throw a billion bucks at it and everything will be back to normal. Unfortunately, when it comes to government policy, normal usually means crazy.

Denial is the first human response to a tragedy.

The next attack, if it was a terrorist attack, took place on Sept. 11, 2001. That one wasn't so easy to deny.


Quote for the Day -- "More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." Woody Allen

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Right Title

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX, BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK was the title of a best-selling book back in the 60’s. Being a novice at life at the time, I bought a copy. When I finished reading it, I knew as much about sex as I did before I read it, which was about as much as I knew about brain surgery.

A good title is very important. It should compel a potential reader to open the book and glance at the first paragraph, which is equally as important. If a book has a good title and a good first paragraph, there’s actually a chance the reader will go on to read the second paragraph.

Many authors have problems coming up with the right title.

For example, Peter Benchley’s editor rejected every title the author presented for his first novel, including GREAT WHITE, THE SHARK, LEVIATHAN RISING, and THE JAWS OF DEATH. Finally, out of sheer frustration, Benchley told his editor to just call it JAWS because nobody reads a first novel anyway.

Joseph Heller had a different sort of problem with the title of his first novel, CATCH-18. Doubleday had a new novel coming out called MILA 18, by Leon Uris, so they objected to Heller’s title. Simon & Schuster, Heller’s publisher, agreed to change the title to CATCH-22.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a novel titled TRIMALCHIO IN WEST EGG. Apparently, an advisor to Emperor Nero named Petronius wrote a satire a couple thousand years ago titled SATYRICON which contained a character named Trimalchio. Fitzgerald assumed everyone would make the connection. However, Fitzgerald's publisher did not have similar rocks for brains and chose an alternative title, THE GREAT GATSBY.

Margaret Mitchell wrote a rather lengthy romance novel about the south during the Civil War. She called it PANSEY. But romance novels require lusty titles, so it was eventually changed to GONE WITH THE WIND, thereby attracting readers who lust for windy days.

Jacqueline Suzanne wrote a steamy novel of lust and betrayal in the wonderful world of show business titled THEY DON'T BUILD STATUES TO BUSINESSMEN. They don’t build them for writers either, especially ones with lousy titles. Later, it became VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

MOTH was a play written by Tennessee Williams. It had nothing to do with moths. Even though it was eventually changed to A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, it had nothing to do with streetcars either.

As the author of four novels, I know how important a good title can be. I still wonder if I made the right choices.

My first novel, THE DOGMAN OF TOPANGA, started out as DOGMAN OF THE CANYON. It wasn’t much of a title change but it did pin down the exact location of the canyon.

My agent advised me that GOOMBA IN MONTANA wasn’t such a good title because most people wouldn’t know goomba from gumbo. I tended to agree but kept it anyway, mainly because I don't like pinheads messing with my creativity. It's a lot more enjoyable writing a novel than dealing with agents and publishers.

A BAD RUN OF FATE was originally titled THE KING OF CONGRESS, but my publisher thought it was misleading because it referred to the town of Congress, Arizona, rather than a house of politicians. Sometimes publishers are right. I reluctantly changed the title and vowed to someday rule the world.

My fourth novel, THE ELEVENTH SAGE, is a metaphysical journey from an unfathomable present into a famous past life while simultaneously creating the destiny of a precise future being pre-lived subconsciously. And if you can figure it out, you're smarter than the author. No need to change the title – it's perfect.

Choosing the title for a novel is a lot like wearing a jock strap. If it stinks, it's time to find a fresh one.


Quote of the Day – "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Resurrecting a Public Image

Don't ever accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you're wonderful.

Dog-fighting is a felony in every state in the USA, except Idaho and Wyoming. Two dogs enter a ring and attack each other until one prevails, sometimes killing the other dog, always inflicting severe damage. The Humane Society estimates as many as 40,000 people in this country participate in this barbaric practice.

Ninety-nine percent of fighting dogs are pit bulls. They are bred to want to kill any dog in front of them. They are bred to have a willingness to continue fighting, even in great pain, even in the face of death.

Dog-fighting is a sadistic, brutal act of cruelty forced upon innocent animals that have no other option than to kill or be killed. Only a human maggot with a brain the size of a garbanzo bean would consider dog-fighting to be a legitimate sport.

On April 25, 2007, authorities raided a house on 15 acres in Virginia owned by Michael Vick. They found over 70 dogs (mostly pit bulls, most suffering from neglect, many with obvious wounds and injuries), a dog-fighting pit, bloodstained carpets and equipment commonly associated with dog-fighting.

Vick was not at the scene and denied knowledge of dog-fighting at the property, which was called "Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels" by those who ran the operation.

Michael Vick, former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, is currently serving a 23-month prison sentence on dog-fighting related charges.

In the original 19-page indictment, Vick was allegedly highly involved in the operation. He attended dog fights, paid off bets when his dogs lost and killed dogs he considered to be substandard. The indictment further stated that Vick personally executed eight dogs by various methods who did not perform well in testing sessions, including by electrocution, drowning, hanging and slamming at least one dog's head to the ground.

On July 7, 2008, Vick filed Chapter 11 papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Vick's lawyers said in the filing that they hope Vick "can, after the conclusion of the bankruptcy case, rebuild his life on a personal and spiritual level, resurrect his image as a public figure, and resolve matters with the NFL such that he can resume his career."

News Flash to Vick's Lawyers – The only way your client could possibly resurrect his public image is to sprout a halo and bring everlasting peace to Planet Earth.

Vick should be chained to the engine block of a 1959 Buick, wearing only a diaper, and put on public display at the corner of Hollywood and Vine where people can toss peanuts at him as they pass by.

The ancient Romans thought it was sporting to feed Christians to the lions. They were wrong.

Michael Vick thought it was sporting to force dogs to kill each other. Good luck resurrecting your public image.


Quote of the Day – "The dog is a gentleman. I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." Mark Twain

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Known Universe

On a clear night, depending on your location and ability to scan freely from horizon to horizon in all directions, the average person is able to view approximately 3,000 stars with the naked eye.

On July 26, 2002, CNN News reported that several witnesses in the Washington DC area saw bright orange and blue lights in the sky. Two F-16s were scrambled out of nearby Andrews Air Force, but the unidentified objects disappeared before the planes could intercept them and mysteriously vanished from radar.

Then the announcer added, with a smirk on his face, that there were no sightings of little green men.

On July 22, 2003, CNN News reported that astronomers announced there are 70 sextillion stars in the visible universe. A sextillion is a 1 followed by 21 zeroes.

That's 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 known stars in the universe. That's more than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the entire Earth.

This is not the total number of stars in the universe -- it's the number within the range of present day telescopes. The true number could be a zillion times higher.

There are nearly 7 billion people on this planet; that's 10 trillion known stars for every human being on Earth.

For every single person, there are 10,000,000,000,000 known stars in the universe.

Each star could have multiple planets within their system, just as we have multiple planets in our own solar system. Numerous planets have already been discovered in the closer regions of space.

Plus, many theoretical physicists believe there are other (parallel) universes and multiple unperceivable (parallel) dimensions as well, all of which could possibly contain intelligent entities.

If only one out of every million known stars (solar systems) has just one planet with intelligent life, there would be approximately 70,000,000,000,000,000 planets with intelligent life in our known universe.

To assume human beings on Planet Earth are the only intelligent life-forms in the universe is preposterous.

In fact, to assume human beings are an intelligent life-form is also preposterous.

He who smirks at the unknown is a fool.


Quote for the Day – "Two things are infinite – the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A 65th Wedding Anniversary

On July 2, 2008, my parent's celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

It's hard to believe two people could live under the same roof that long. And since I know these two people quite well, it's even more surprising. Of course, it helps that my dad is getting hard of hearing these days.

My marriage lasted five years and two days, which was about three years too long. My ex-wife had a very peculiar habit – she always spent about three time as much as we ever made.

My father, Weston, worked in management for AT&T for more than 40 years then retired. He also was conscripted into military service during WWII where he became a pilot and flight instructor in the Army Air Force. His hobbies are mowing the lawn and making sure everything is in its proper place.

My mother, Irene, worked on occasion as a legal secretary. She also spent much of her life helping her two sons, the oral surgeon and the professional bum, get through endless years of college. Her activities include doing charity work, creating artworks, decoupage, making quilts, gardening, picking berries, home decorating, baking, solving global problems and swatting flies.

My parents brought two sons into this world.

Their youngest son, Jim, is an endodontist (oral surgeon) in Denver. He tends to get restless on occasion. He flies to Africa to take photos of lions, flies to Belize to scuba dive, flies to Arizona or Florida to shoot a round of golf, flies to New Zealand to jump the world's highest bungee jump and so forth.

Their oldest son, yours truly, is a professional bum. He sits on his back deck and watches sunsets.

Wes and Irene have two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Apparently, we do everything by two in our family.

One day not too long ago, my parents were over at my place for a barbecue. My kitchen light went out. I stood on a kitchen stool and unscrewed the dead bulb, while my father was holding the stool to make sure I didn't fall. In the meantime, my mother retrieved a new bulb from a cupboard, handed it to me and I screwed it in. Then my mother turned on the switch to test the new bulb before I got back down.

Thus, it takes three Burquests to change a light bulb.

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad.

Jim will also wish you a Happy Anniversary when he returns home. I believe he's presently skydiving in Kuala Lumpur.


Quote for the Day – "Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery." Erma Bombeck