deep rootsI have lived my life under the delusion I had something to say. Something significant. And it was always just below the surface, always on the brink of revelation.

            Delusions got deep roots.

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Little Green Men and a Missed Opportunity: Musings From a 2005 Road Trip

Like Tombstone, Roswell, New Mexico occupies a place in American Folklore. Granted, it’s a much different place, a spacier place, but a place none-the-less. It was a place that once loomed large in my own legend. (Clearly it continues to occupy a small room at the end of the hall on the third floor of my psyche.)

roswell06In early July 1947, scant days after Kenneth Arnold ushered in the modern age of flying saucers with his sighting of nine out-of-this-world craft soaring past Mt. Rainier (in so-recently-departed Washington), something crashed into the landscape of southeastern New Mexico, near Roswell, during a summer tempest. Rancher Mack Brazel, checking on his sheep during the fierce storm came upon a debris field and a shallow trench several hundred feet long, which had been gouged into the land. In short order the military got involved, small coffins which could be hermetically sealed were brought in, and information about preserving bodies that had been exposed to the elements, without contaminating the tissue, was passed along the chain of command.

roswell front page

A press release on July 8th stated that a crashed space ship was recovered (okay, it was described as a “disk” in the release, but “space ship” gives it a greater sense of urgency and oo-EE-oo). The next day a second press release said, “Oops. It wasn’t a space ship. It was a weather balloon. Our bad.”

Eventually it was all forgotten only to come roaring back in the late-‘70s when the son of Major Jesse Marcel, the officer in charge of the crash sight, came forward to unburden himself and his father’s ghost. His father had brought home pieces of the wreckage. They were clearly not of this world. Those pieces, with the rest of the recovered debris, were boxed up and shipped off, immediately replaced with bits of weather balloon. The presence of alien bodies was vehemently denied. Ufologists and conspiracy theorists jumped all over this revelation and a new piece of (cosmic) American folklore was born.

roswell04        Being something of a UFO buff myself, I believed it. (And that was sarcasm. I was no mere “buff”: I was a religious fanatic about flying saucers and little green men. It was a spicy ingredient in my cosmic persona.) Where Roswell was concerned, the Department of Tourism was given the gift of a ready-made payday. Whatever history stretched out in Roswell’s wake, flying saucers became what it was known for. And here I was, having breakfast at the Alien Diner, browsing the Flying Saucer Gift Shop, and perusing the history of space ships at the International UFO Museum and Research Center, which was, in fact, a serious endeavor.

Walking the streets of Roswell, needless-to-say, transcended a mere ‘hoot.’ All those years of my interest in flying saucers came cascading down the mountainsides of my life, carrying with them people and places and events like a high school reunion. Stuff I had forgotten all about was suddenly as clear and present as the breakfast that wasn’t agreeing with me. Moments in time were suddenly snapshots in a photo album on my lap. And I thought about a potentially life-changing missed opportunity.

During my “Carlos Castapasterick” days on the Ohio State campus back in the early ‘80s, I was living a long overdue beatnik hippie lifestyle, which I shared with, and which was empowered by Pete (a fellow astronomy major) and Paulette (a little hippie girl from my German class). We were the Three Musketeers of far out and groovy. The Mod Squad. Anachronistic anarchists in the middle of and in spite of, the early ‘80s, when there was absolutely nothing far out and groovy going on at all. And we were friends.

My friendship with Paulette took an unexpected turn when, one evening over a bowl of chocolate ice cream, she proclaimed, “I’m still a virgin.” A few hours later she could no longer make that claim. Emotional baggage soon followed.

While Paulette was one of the most important people in my life at this point, and our friends-with-benefits lifestyle was very, very lively and enjoyable (she was very curious about all things sexual; I gleefully obliged), I was not prepared to enter a romantic entanglement with her.

My reluctance certainly hurt her, but she did not let it affect our friendship, and our extracurricular activities continued unabated and frequent. But then I went on a blind date with a girl with whom I was immediately smitten, and when I told Paulette she turned and marched off into the neon-bathed night of High Street.

Still she continued to be my friend (and I probably never appreciated her for that; I probably took it for granted), and she and Pete and I continued to spend candlelit evenings in my apartment in deep discussion while jazz or ambient music played on my turntable. And then one night she told us she was moving to Roswell, New Mexico, that an old friend had invited her to stay with her, that it was probably time to move on to whatever life was offering next. And she asked me to drive her.

me and the van        Paulette. Moving to Roswell. Where a flying saucer had crashed. This was just too cool for words.

And she wanted me to drive her.

Sparks began to fly and brush fires began to erupt. A road trip to New Mexico. Of course, Pete would go along as well. And maybe, just maybe, this was the kick in the ethereal ass we needed to set in motion something more than what had been taking place in my apartment. Maybe we could take it further. Higher.

The three of us had often talked about a commune, and though we had not taken a single step in that direction, we considered ourselves something of a philosophical and spiritual creative collective of kindred souls. Our commune wasn’t physical in nature, but it already existed. Maybe now we could hang some drywall on it.

It was very exiting pondering the possibilities. That beatnik hippie lifestyle that had eluded me until only recently seemed poised on the verge of an orgasm. We were clearly working ourselves into a frothy-mouthed frenzy (or was it just me?), but I had that girlfriend, that blind date whom I had gone apeshit over. She had hung around and now it was ludicrously intense. I couldn’t go off and start a commune where the flying saucers crashed. The thought of simply driving Paulette to New Mexico, unloading her stuff, and then driving back to Ohio was even too much to bear where leaving my girlfriend behind was concerned.

I couldn’t do it. Paulette took the train west. Our creative collective spirit would continue, but now it was long distance.

Pete kept coming around, and whoever my girlfriend was at the time (the one who kept me from driving to New Mexico hung around for another year and a half before moving on herself), she joined us in our beatnik hippie frivolity. But it was never the same. It was never like it was when it was Paulette, Pete, and me. And while I didn’t let myself think about then, or at any time since, I now realized, walking the streets of Roswell twenty years later, that I had missed an opportunity. A life changing opportunity.

In theory, I was making up for that now (as well other missed opportunities) with the Gypsy Innkeeping Hospitality Beatnik lifestyle that had us on the run as often as not (or so it currently seemed).[1]

[1] Our creative collective spirit naturally didn’t last, but you can’t blame that on me. I have clung to it  tenaciously, imagining my last years in a small, “organic” trailer park; a hodge-podge of beat up old campers and trailers and a communal bus, all of us parked somewhere in the Desert Southwest, “us” being my wife and me and Pete and Paulette and Brad and Gus, from Cincinnati, and their significant others, a bunch of aging hippies, perhaps the final chapter in the Saga of the Merry Pranksters and their bus, “Far Enough.”

It has been a very happy fantasy.

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Not Even Rose-Tinted Glasses


This isn’t rose-tinted glasses. It’s just frames. These people are out there!

Posted in A Verbal Scrapbook, Excerpt from "Einstien's Idiots", humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fast and Loose with Time Travel (not a movie review)

mirageI’m having trouble with time travel as portrayed in movies, in this case the Spanish film, Mirage. As usual, our protagonist has changed the course of history, in this instance  by saving a young boy’s life via a rare storm, an old T.V., and an old video camera. The consequence of her action(s) is that her own timeline is significantly altered, which is inevitable both in these stories and in backward time travel in general. Every little action is a fractal butterfly altering the course of all humankind.

That’s all swell, but, though this protagonist of ours has had her life changed, she remembers her  pre-interfering-with-the-past life. That is crap. Everything has been changed, including her. She can’t very well remember a life that never occurred. The moment the past went down a different path, her current circumstances should have changed. Poof! She should have found herself in a completely different life.

In the film she does have a different life, but remembers the old one.

Uh uh. It doesn’t work that way. Her memories would be of this altered life.

If you can get by this obvious and annoying time travel faux pax, there are some interesting twists and turns to the story, but this isn’t a movie review; I’m complaining about the usual fast-and-loose being played with time travel.

Oh, and astrophysicists rarely are involved with weather forecasting (see the movie).

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A Reality-Free Zone

This is a reality-free zone. Reality comes here to die.

            realityI can’t talk about anything without hearing about mantis-people, or the next CME, which will knock the Earth out of its orbit, or chem-trails, or ancient aliens, or government cover-ups, or astrology.

            These people, who are so taken with astrology, they don’t even know what their “sign” looks like. Christ, that’s real commitment.

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limpThey’ve never been so nether as they’ve been lately.

·         Fondly Edwater                                                     Talking about his nether-regions

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Enlarged Prostate

Ipertrofia prostaticaMy butt’s numb from sitting all day. That, or my prostate’s cut off blood-flow to a nerve.

·         Ned Rubbish                                                           Sour Puss

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