Random Stuff, Part 30

* You know how I know that we are in a recession? This is the first year that SciFi Channel didn’t produce a mini-TV series for December, as they traditionally do.

* In last night’s “UFO Hunters” episode, the 1997 Phoenix Lights sighting was investigated. The Phoenix Lights is the most blatant appearance of a UFO over a large population — even the (ex-pilot) governor of Arizona saw the humongous object that night over Phoenix. However, something stroke me at the end of the episode. You see, the producer of the show, Bill Birnes, is a blind believer on UFOs. He runs the UFO Magazine and more often than not he jumps to quick and otherwordly conclusions (something that’s not true with his collegues: the level-headed and all around very cool guy Pat Uskert who I interviewed back in April, and the ex-Nasa scientist, skeptic and real hot Dr. Ted Acworth). So basically, this is a show that has a… professional blind believer, an open minded guy from next door, and a skeptic scientist running it — which is why I like the show. Now, at the end of the show, Ted (the skeptic) said that there’s something more is going on with these lights, Pat believed that this is indeed an alien UFO, and Bill said that… this was an experimental military vehicle. And this was curious to me, how this major sighting, with hundreds of people that saw it and recorded it, the most solid mass experience in the history of UFOs, is just a “military vehicle” according to the blind believer, Bill. And then it hit me. I realized that the whole thrill of conspiracies and UFOs has its base exactly in the mystery about them. From the moment you make the phenomena “common”, where everyone can see a UFO, or believe in it, or even if the government comes out and says “yes, there are aliens visiting this planet”, the whole mystery goes away. And people like Bill are mystery and thrill seekers, they are not there to find the truth about the phenomena, but to satisfy their own psyche! If aliens were to be revealed to us, Bill would be devastated! This reminds me a lot of the “Twin Peaks” TV show. No matter how much people were crying out to the writers to reveal the mysteries, when that happened, the ratings went down, everyone stopped watching the show. Everyone was on board for the mystery, no matter if they THOUGHT they wanted the truth. They didn’t.

* “Heroes” is a fucking mess. So Sylar kills Nathan/Pete’s father with a fucking bullet? Why not stop the fucking bullet, take his brains out so he can take his powers? Sylar is a power-seeker, and the father is the most powerful villain, so why not use him? The writers of Heroes need to be fired. All of them. I hear that Pushing Daisies’ writer Brian Fuller is back to the show, but it’s too late now. And Hiro losing the “light” immediately after getting it? Why not the guy stealing it before Hiro got there if it was that easy? And how was Claire able to get back to the Nakamura house so easily? This show needs to be canceled. Now. They create a show for geeks, but the show is not written by geeks, and so details like this are easily observed by most of us. It’s like trying to sell to Jay Leno a racing car that was designed by novelists instead of engineers.

15 Comments »

William Eggington wrote on December 11th, 2008 at 5:08 PM PST:

A few years ago I did some contract work for a guy who discovered these things called Roswell Rods. He sent me heaps of video proving their existence. Pretty freaky stuff. I re-created what I thought would make those shapes on the video in 3D. One of the funnest jobs I have ever landed actually.

There really is a lot of hard to explain stuff out there and its super interesting to find out about it. If it ends up being just bugs. . . that would sure suck the fun out of it. 🙁

His Website.

My wife and I were way into Heroes from the beginning but after the very first episode of this season we gave up. Its really changed and not for the better. Such a shame. 🙁


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Eugenia wrote on December 11th, 2008 at 5:33 PM PST:

Rods are indeed bugs that look like rods simply because:
1. the shutter speed on the camera used was very low.
2. they fly so fast that the 60i frame rate is not enough to depict their real shape.

Even the myth of werewolves is more believable than rods…


mikesum32 wrote on December 11th, 2008 at 11:50 PM PST:

Rods = bugs

The nine lights behind the Sierra Estrella mountain ridge are military flares, and the show Sightings pretty much proved that. Any other light in the area I have no clue about.

As for Heroes, do the writers even watch the show ? So the speedster gets her first place ribbon stolen, and it’s for running. So what do we find later ? Well, she had cerebral palsy until the eclipse. So where’s the ribbon come from ?


Ivan wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 1:18 AM PST:

Nice to have these comments back!

I just want to point out that you Americans really mess things up. You call everything a ‘show’ so it becomes very hard to keep fact and fiction apart. Some images on the youtube link you posted were clearly fabricated (the credits, eg), so where the fact begin and does fiction end.

There was a UFO sighting in the early nineties in Malmédy, Belgium. This also is mass sighting. It is well documented, just google for it. Even military F16 pilots were sent out to check on it, and policemen saw it too. My sister saw it. Three orange lights, triangularly shaped. When she saw it, the first thing that came to her mind was: ‘What a strange airplane. And it moves so slowly.’ Only the next day, when it was on national television and radio, she ‘realised’ she had seen the UFO too. Like her, hundreds of people were ‘crazed’ by the media and mass hysterics. Later, SHAPE military officials declared that what my sister had seen, togehter with hundreds of others, was the at the time top secret Stealth Bomber, preparing for the first Gulf War.


Ivan wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 1:23 AM PST:

Memsom wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 1:53 AM PST:

I think, think, the Sylar thing is due to the Haitan guy being there. Surely he had dampened Sylar’s powers as well as the Patrelli Father’s? I dunno. I watch Heroes sporadically, missed most of the second season and sort of half understand the back stiry. It’s not as good as it was in the first part of season 1, that’s fo sure!


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Eugenia wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 2:06 AM PST:

>I just want to point out that you Americans really mess things up.

I am not an American. I am Greek. I have lived in Greece, Germany, UK, USA, and a bit in France, but I am 100% Greek. I am not even what some people call Greeks who grew up in US as “Greek-American”, because I came to the US much later in my life, and I am not a US citizen. I identify better as Greek-European, rather than American or Greek-American.

> You call everything a ’show’ so it becomes very hard to keep fact and fiction apart.

In English (both US and UK English), everything that’s entertainment is a show. On TV or not. When I was in UK, this idiom was used as such as well.

>Some images on the youtube link you posted were clearly fabricated (the credits, eg), so where the fact begin and does fiction end.

The Youtube link was about another documentary, not the one I watched last night. And I am not sure what you mean about the credits. In documentaries in US it’s common to add some computer animation to explain a few things. But the whole show is not fiction, or at least it doesn’t try to be.


Memsom wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 2:41 AM PST:

In UK, we tend to say “programme”. In fact:

Season = Series
Show = programme
Commercial = avert(isment)

We never say “show” in the way the americans do. A “show” is something on stage.


Ivan wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 2:45 AM PST:

The idiosyncratic language of a person or a nation does reflect is ideas, beliefs and values, which is called its paradigm. Calling anything on tv a show is typical of (a) people who have difficulty distiguishing fact from fiction. There are more specific words (like report, documentary, news item, analysis etc.) that many people willing or unwilling not use. They prefer, I guess, escapist ‘infotainment’, which allows them to dream away without any engagement.
This is relevant, because the media play a very important part in the UFO myth. The media feed the myth and keep it alive in order to sell. It’s no coincidence that ufo sightings coincide with media boom. UFU believer go even as far as rewriting history: they claim that strange phenomena described in the middle ages, or ever further back, were in fact UFO. So they force their modern paradigm to rewrite history. So apparently, there are some UFO sightings described in the Bible. So here is the question: who’s wrong, the medival man believen in God, or the modern man, believen in UFO.


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Eugenia wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 2:58 AM PST:

Ivan, while what you say may hold true, the fact is, here we call shows everything on TV. Show means entertainment here, and TV is about entertainment, so the two became synonymous. It doesn’t mean that Americans are stupid, or can’t separate fact from fiction. This is very belittling and very simplified. It’s just that language *evolves*, and this is how this word evolved in this part of the planet. Besides, this is the country of entertainment, so it makes sense for the word to have been evolved this way.

And Memson, in UK many people call TV series “shows” too. I know this for a fact, because it was mentioned on TV back in the ’90s, and I remember this very vividly, because my then fiance got as disturbed by it as Ivan did. IIRC, it was an announcement about “Star Trek: Voyager”, and they called it a “show”. And he got pissed off, because “show” for him meant a MUSICAL. So depending to whom you speak to, and from which country he is coming from (he’s half-Greek, half-German), “show” means something different.

But the point of the matter is, this is how language evolves. By such differentiations over the years. So get with the program(me).

And btw, this is all off topic, so please don’t do that. I re-opened the comments in hope that I won’t have to deal with discussions like this that have nothing to do with my train of thought on my blog post.


Ivan wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 3:27 AM PST:

Please don’t close down the comments because of me. In all honesty, I thought that my point about the word ‘show’ goes to the heart of the topic… It pretty much confirms what you state.


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Eugenia wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 3:58 AM PST:

I fail to see the connection to what I wrote about Bill’s psyche, and the word “show”. Just because Bill likes mystery doesn’t mean that Americans can’t separate fact from fiction and so everything becomes “a show” for them. I found that conclusion of yours very degrading, and the tone of what you wrote was very similar to how Europeans degrade Americans over many matters (“you Americans…”) without having a personal experience of the US (let alone that I am in California, which is a very progressive state compared to the Bible Belt states, and Californians take pride for that — plus, I am not even American).

Besides, there are people who are thrill-seekers everywhere in the world, not just in the US. I know of a very specific person in UK, friend of mine when I used to live there, who’s a bigger believer on UFOs than Bill for example. His whole life and belief system revolves around this. And yet, I didn’t start a similar “you British…”, and get a conclusion like yours.

The point of the matter is, “show” is everything that can be considered entertainment in the US. Be it a documentary, or a TV series, or live theater. And the word evolved that way here because — pay attention– entertainment is big business in the US that feeds millions, not because Americans are delusional and can’t tell fact from fiction.

Sorry Ivan, but you really need to throw away that anti-American stance (that is very common in Europe), stop putting everyone on the same sack (not the whole of US has rednecks), and stop thinking that because you don’t agree with the etymology of a single word (as you understand it in BELGIUM no less), you somehow can analyze the whole society here based on the evolution of a single word. It’s ridiculous, it’s degrading, and I personally got insulted over that — even if I am not American.


Ivan wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 4:45 AM PST:

You have a point: not all Americans are alike. But 50 per cent of Americans voted for a president who started a war in Iraq, with arguments grounded on fiction, rather than on facts. And the UK jumped on that wagon. That’s why we’re so glad Obama won the elections. There is a big difference between the UK and continental Europe.
Also, have you ever noticed that many science fiction movies are very militaristic? For that matter, some say the Star Trek crew costumes echo the German SS costumes.
I know this is a blow below the belt, but few Americans are like you, cosmopolitan. Most don’t even know where Belgium is!


l3v1 wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 5:06 AM PST:

“stop thinking that because you don’t agree with the etymology of a single word (as you understand it in BELGIUM no less), you somehow can analyze the whole society”

Well, isn’t that the exact same behavior the posts of this blog show from time to time. If one allowes oneself to project subjective views of a topic onto the world and declare it the truth, that doesn’t mean the world can’t have a different idea about it.

“degrade Americans over many matters (”you Americans…”) without having a personal experience of the US”

See, another one. Just because one writes from someplace else, it doesn’t mean (s)he doesn’t have the experience you feel as lacking. You can put me on that “you Americans…” list too, and I do have the experience.


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Eugenia wrote on December 12th, 2008 at 5:32 AM PST:

> with arguments grounded on fiction, rather than on facts

Like no other country, ever, have voted for a bad president. I can name a few in my own country alone. It just happens that this one is a powerful one so he takes more shit than the ones you forget about in other countries.

>with arguments grounded on fiction, rather than on facts.

Yes, because he lied to his people, and at the early stage there was not enough information to catch him as the lie. But this doesn’t mean that Americans can’t tell fact from fiction on TV. And besides, even if he was voted, doesn’t mean that Americans wanted war! Most of the Americans are, and were, anti-war. But your obvious blind hate towards the US makes you have this black and white stance.

>some say the Star Trek crew costumes echo the German SS costumes.

That’s complete and utter bullshit. Conspiracy theories from people who are afraid their own shadow. You sound like Bill yourself.

>but few Americans are like you, cosmopolitan

Where I live, in the Silicon Valley, people are intelligent. The city I am living in has one of the lowest criminality in the US too. California is like a country of its own and there has been even talk about getting independence from the rest of the US. The kind of Americans you despise are not from the CA, OR, WA, or MASS states. They are the Bible Belt ones. *These* states voted for Bush, not the progressive ones.

Learn to make a distinction and not put everyone under the same sack, because I am sure that Belgium’s Dutch and French population are not very alike either. You yourself made comments in the past about the French part of Belgium, not very cool comments if I may say so. So, what if a third party was starting to make a comment about Belgians, and characterize the Dutch population the same way as the French one? I am pretty sure you wouldn’t like it. In fact, you would be insulted if he was to use your own description about the French, but for all the Belgians. See my point?

You have to come and live in the progressive states to understand that these Americans are not different in ideas than the Europeans. But never having set foot to the US, and judging 350 million people just because the Bible Belt is able to be loud, and able to elect a president easier than the progressive states because they hold more Senate seats, and so creating this IDEA in your mind that ALL Americans are fucking idiots, it shows me that you are not as smart as I thought you were.

I don’t mind stereotypicalities when they are used for fun — I have said that many times and have made fun of myself and fellow Greeks. But when are taken seriously, I do have a problem with it because they show a person that’s not able to grow bigger than the average person next to him who spews crap just to fit in.

And for the last time. The word “show” in the US means entertainment, and it evolved this way for business reasons, not because Americans are idiots. Entertainment here, in antithesis to Europe where the industry is completely stagnated since the ’70s, brings billions of dollars that feed millions of people. Entertainment here, “shows” that is, is SERIOUS business.

I guess enabling comments was a bad idea after all. You were the least person I expected to piss me off, but you just made it. Time is 5:30 AM here, I have an appointment with the doctor at 11 AM, and no time to sleep.

Fuck it.


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