New Alice’s New Wonderland

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Reflect on the Looking Glass; espy each Ancient Faced Clock
Where counterclockwise sweep hands, go tick-tock-tick-tock
Is this glass barrier unbreachable; doth it forevermore block?
Or have humans, yet, to discover; the occult key to that lock?

Each temporal mechanic, bedecked in crisp, tailored lab frock
Knows their beliefs can’t be berated; be belittled like schlock
Volunteer, aptly named Alice; her heroes Armstrong ’n’ Spock
Checks checklist; nears full-length mirror; she’s ready to rock!

Intrepid woman steps thru, infiltrates with one knuckled knock
Father Time waves her way, warily; in state of palpable shock
He quizzes, “Why are you here? To Revere Me? Jeer?? Mock???
Once she dispels his suspicions; towards each other both flock

She asks, “Can you halt aging, in here; set back our Bio clock?”
“Fade away wrinkles / crows feet; acne scars / the marks pock?”
“From our seen-better-days bods; can our years you lop; dock?”
“Alas Alice,” Pop sighs, “Your postulate’s PURE POPPYCOCK!!!

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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Sigh… Sci-Fi?

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Even had this past Wednesday’s numerology not involved all multiples of 7, I still would’ve thanked my lucky stars on 07/14/21: the very day I got my second chance to finally, fully and freely enjoy a far more meaningful, satisfying life.

That’s when the fortuitous, favorable conditions had allowed my 44-year absent, spacefaring friends to pull off a timely, unscheduled return pass thru our inner solar system; to briefly touch down on Earth (on my behalf); to pay me back for my long ago, last minute, mission salvaging sacrifice (on their behalf); to, in essence, repatriate me.

To better understand my now limitless elation, let’s begin where / when it all began; the summer of ’67; during a sweltering, steamy, Michigan heatwave; a couple hours past sundown…

At that pivotal moment, with the June Beetles repeatedly pinging against our patio door’s screen, this newly minted teenager was sitting across the dining room table from my well-versed in astrophysics father; savoring a fizzing, ice cold cola while rehashing the glum current events.

Eventually, my utter exasperation / revulsion re societal injustice, racism, sexism, classism, no-win endless wars, environmental ruin, etc. had culminated with my raw rant’s slew of Qs…

“I wonder what would happen were we to construct a spaceship to get the hell outta here? How tough would it be to get our journey to the stars off the ground? Would governmental mental misfits deny us a secure launch corridor thru American airspace? Or, attempt to appropriate our intellectual and actual property? Even bark out their ‘Blast ‘em out of the sky!’ command to the military?”

Next, in a sudden burst of inspiration, I began thumbnail theorizing; regarding the spacecraft tech capable of materializing wormholes; which in turn, would allow our crew to circumvent the Einsteinian posted speed limit of 299,792 km per second; to, ultimately, circumnavigate the universe.

Seeing how my questions had only been rhetorical; my notions theoretical, about all that was left to do, that night, was rise, yawn, stretch, shrug and wish my Dad pleasant dreams; and then head off to my own dreamland.

Well, by dawn’s early light, I found my father all smiles at the breakfast table as he said…

“Son, I’ve taken to heart virtually everything you spoke of, last night; so much so, I’ve already phoned my network of visionaries to schedule an impromptu meeting. And, seeing how you’ve amply demonstrated your own think-outta-the-box creds, I want you to skip school, today, so you, too, can meet with us.”

Well, my ability to view science in the abstract wound up “wowing” my dad’s associates; so much so, I soon became known as our team’s Abstract Artist (aptly nicknamed “Double A”). Of course, canvas and oils had nothing to do with the type of pictures I was “painting” for them. To cite an apt 21st century aside, I was more attuned to Jean-Luc Picard than Pablo Picasso.

My primary work assignments involved conceptualizing space-worthy hardware and ancillary devices; presenting these notions to my co-workers, who, in turn, would leap ‘em off their drawing boards; fast track ‘em into production; so much so, that it took less than a decade for our fully functional, starship, The Saucer to ace all its preflight tests; to be secreted within its under heavy guard, underground launch bay.

And, such nomenclature was quite fitting, too, considering this vehicle’s uncanny conformity to descriptions found within Sci-Fi literature, TV and films. Indeed, our extraordinary tech, namely, the Wormhole Wave Generator and The Shroud (akin to the Trekian Romulan Cloaking Device.) could’ve been easily, mistakenly deemed to be of “extraterrestrial origin”.

Quite the tale of two vastly disparate space programs, huh? On one hand, NASA was merely setting their Sixties era sites on lunar landings; on the other, our would-be astronauts were boldly training our crosshairs on deep space and whatever else we may encounter.

Naturally, to ensure that our mission would not die of old age and old ideas, our carefully considered crew manifest did boast a diverse, cross section of humanity; namely, the mens sana in corpore sano, intellectually curious, humane, superbly scrupulous young women and men; all committed to hand down, from generation to generation, our principles and scientific / technological expertise.

Our actual launch date was slated for 07/07/77 at 07:07 UTC. However, unbeknownst to us, we had a quisling within our ranks; one whose top priority was to muck up everything by sabotaging The Shroud, which would either totally scrub the launch or force our, in full view, departure from Earth. In other words, to leave us completely vulnerable to military attack.

My father had outed this traitor who, via a landline, was a mere syllable away from outing our launch bay’s actual latitude and longitude to government muckety-mucks. Even tho dad had severed the phone’s wire in the nick of time, that call, if traced, still could’ve afforded them our general vicinity, ergo, we deemed it imperative to deploy a decoy to lead any in hot pursuit entities in the totally opposite direction.

In a heartbeat, I had volunteered to take ‘em all on the proverbial wild goose chase; soon thereafter, spotting the flashing lights of multiple military vehicles and civilian cop cars; all emerging from the dust cloud seen in my rearview mirror. And, while my mission to mislead ‘em had allowed The Saucer to launch precisely on schedule (in full view) I, too, found myself (as expected) in the figurative rearview mirror (of our starship). By the by, our enemies did manage to haphazardly fire off several missiles, but to no avail. Ultimately, our tech had amply proven our brains over brawn superiority.

Over the course of the past forty plus years, I’ve never lost hope that our crew (now a blend of originals and descendants), would return for me; my belief remaining so passionate that I continued to unleash talents worthy of my “Double A” nickname; so much so, that my latest drawing-board-to-reality tech involves the RTC (Real Time Communicator).

The fact that these words are now posted @WordPress is proof that the RTC is now online aboard The Saucer. Ergo, unlike in the past, we’ll manage to regularly stay in touch with our recently assembled, top secret, skeletal, global network; our ground crew, who in turn, will stay connected to you, the worldwide reader.

Oh, how good it feels to say good riddance to the husks of humanity Trumpers who still flat out refuse to mask up / vaccinate during a deadly pandemic; who remain hellbent on overthrowing America / fighting AGAINST freedom; who are DYING to empower fascistic freaks who, in The End, WILL suck the life blood from the masses they oppress.

To wrap this up, I’ve now swapped out our dismal, decaying, devolving society for the glowing, growing alternative reality where I’m at liberty to explore the vast multiverse. Might there exist a deep space / otherworldly solution to our worldy ills? Perhaps even an improptu meeting to mind meld with our omniscient Creator?

Will we / can we, somehow, succeed? Stay tuned for my next update.

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On this day 09/13/1999…

From 1975-77, Silvia and Gerry Anderson’s big budget, Space: 1999 was the place for TV viewers… I among them… to witness episodic Sci-Fi adventure, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Gene Roddenberry’s 1966-69 Star Trek got photon torpedoed by the non-visionary NBC execs, who could not see beyond their network’s bottom line.

Not familiar with the Anderson’s drama? You MIGHT opt to read all about it by clicking SPOILER ALERT.

I’ve titled the link in this manner to benefit the people, who might opt to view Space: 1999’s debut episode, below. Hey, while many of us are still hunkering down in our homes to avoid COVID-19, this is not a bad way to while away the next 51 minutes.

For me, this series’ draw… beyond the Sci-Fi adventure… was to, once again, see its three big-name stars back in action, namely, Mission Impossible’s Martin Landau and Barbara Bain and The Fugitive’s Barry Morse.

To briefly set up this clip… sans giving away away too much… a catastrophic event occurs at a lunar nuclear waste dump which adversely affects the 311 inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha… on that September 13, 1999, ill-fated day…

Stay Safe at Home! Stay Publicly Masked! Stay Healthy! Live long and prosper, too!

So, let’s now don our virtual space suits and fasten our seat belts as we launch Space: 1999 from where it all began…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got 1 hr. and 3 min. to Fill while in Quarantine?

Courtesy of Mr. Sci-Fi’s YouTube channel, we’ve all been cordially invited to watch the pilot of a Star Trek TOS spin-off, featuring George Takei reprising his role as the hyper-dimensionally aged (30 years older) Hikaru Sulu.

I’ve cued up this clip at 24:46, the start time of the Star Trek New Voyages’ episode… World Enough And Time. Obviously, if you’d prefer to view the clip in its entirety, rewinding it to 0:00 will then include Star Trek and Deep Space Nine writer Marc Scott Zicree’s previously “untold story of why you never got to see that series — despite its Hugo and Nebula Award nominations!”

To put this into Mr. Spock’s parlance, we’ll all find this to be “Fascinating!”

My brief review of this pilot’s plot…

World Enough in Time is a tragedy with a tearjerker ending featuring actors recast in the roles of Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, (young) Sulu, Chekhov, etc. I believe you’ll find the storyline as emotion-packed as the TOS’ season 1 episode 28, City on the Edge of Forever (original air date 04/06/1967). BTW, there actually is a brief reference to that “Forever” story, when the name “Edith” as in Edith Keeler gets mentioned.

As for my “tricorder’s” precise readout re this video:

1:27:55 Total Clip Run Time
– 24:46 Episode Begins
1:03:09 Episode Run Time

To quote Spock once more… “Live long and prosper.”

And the best way to do so is…

Stay Safe… Stay Home… Stay Healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortune Cookie Blog (It’s as EZ as ET?)

 

It’s a damned shame that spacefarers Klaatu and Gort (his take
no crap from nobody robot) are just fictitious characters. Now,
more than ever, we, the defenders of equality, diversity, civility,
tranquility and liberty, need alien allies to help us realign all of
the “almighty” autocrats’ alleged minds to conform to our own!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Vid of the Day’s 5 Minute Mission…

OK, OK, it’s fess up time. I am a Star Trek geek or Trekkie or Trekker or whatever. But, even if you’re not into Sci-Fi, you’ll still feel emotionally uplifted by this clip’s musical masterpiece. Hell, even an emotion denying Vulcan would regard this a feel good medley.

What we’ll be ear-witnessing, here, is a five minute retrospective… representative of this five-decade-old franchise’s small and large screen theme songs.

As the soundtrack to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision / his spirit of interstellar amity / diplomacy, this also serves as a reminder that we can apply such sentiments to our more down to Earth matters. Additionally, as is true with Gene’s own screenplays and those of his writers, too, this clip also functions on multiple levels.

Starting with the orchestra, we witness multiple hundreds of folks singing and playing in harmony.

Beyond that, Star Trek scenarios do remind us that no matter how formidable unfriendly adversaries may appear… no matter how fiercely they may wage their wars against humanity, the righteous, indomitable human spirit can and will prevail.

To e.g. that… if fantasy’s futuristic Earthlings have been able to repeatedly outwit the Borg, why shouldn’t we view our own reality’s worldwide, recalcitrant leaders as equally inept?

More to the point, humanity’s very survival depends on our ability to channel that Star Trek / Roddenberry winning, positive attitude:

Resistance is NOT Futile!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortune Cookie Blog (Sci-Fi Scenario?)

 

Is today’s Sci-Fi destined to become tomorrow’s Fact? If this pans out…
Pity the voters whose ballot choice pits the automaton vs. the autocrat.
While that’d be the pits, it’d still be wise to elect the droid; not the despot.
In time, a bot can cotton onto reprogramming; the wipe of evil thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interstellar Goodwill Ambassadors’ Messages…

As we just saw in that above clip, Interstellar Goodwill Ambassador Klaatu attempts First Contact by bravely facing down Earthlings, who are armed to the teeth with primitive, yet deadly weaponry. Needless to say… things do not go well…

With these clips in mind, I now assume the role of the Interstellar Goodwill Ambassador to deliver my own message…

 

In the interest of interstellar amity, I’d like to address all extraterrestrials wherever you may hail from. Please keep in mind the inherent dangers in making First Contact… especially when it comes down to us Earthlings. Even if you’re only on a hiding in the bluff, anthropological mission, you could still be in grave danger.

One of our famous writers, Mark Twain, once said, “Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” And I’d ditto Mr. Twain’s schrewd counsel whenever we assess Earth’s demented demographic, too.

You say you’re not here to argue with anyone? Guess again! To better illustrate just how bad terrestrials’ ‘tudes can get, we’ve got a book called a Thesaurus, that’s loaded with synonyms that further describe our argumentative nature… e.g., quarrelsome, disputatious, captious, contrary, cantankerous, contentious; belligerent, bellicose, combative, antagonistic, truculent, pugnacious.

Does any of that get you to worrying about the success of your missions? It should! Could any of this lead to interstellar / interplanetary warfare? What do you think?

Granted, you do out-think and outgun us. But… in far too many instances… and as I’ve already alluded to… too many of the Earthlings you encounter will OUTCRAZY you. And OUTCRAZY can be a dicey situation… one that could suddenly tip the tactical advantage against you.

To e.g. that, traipse gingerly through our bullets flying everywhere / every day Wild West Wasteland. You’ll be facing down pop up war zones… impromptu battlefields… where you’ll be besieged by ravenous for the limelight, sociopathic domestic and international terrorists. Or, in your case, that’d make them interstellar terrorists. Remember, their fusillades of bullets and IEDs can easily mangle your bodies / be as deadly as your deathrays are to us. Hell, they might even attempt ramming vehicles or even hijacked jets into your spacecraft.

As for you guys saying, “Take me to your leader”? Don’t be fools! Do not… repeat… DO NOT even consider such a summit. A yuge part of that OUTCRAZINESS is the xenophobia driven intolerance exhibited by this world’s heads up their asses, heads of state.

To e.g. that, wrap your minds around the unfortunate present-day, anti-alien attitude that targets terrestrial aliens… terrestrial aliens, mind you… especially here, within the United States. This is but a mere dress rehearsal for how they’d horrifically abuse you.

To further e.g. that, let me introduce you to “our” small minded, small handed, (ostensibly) small endowed “leader” who makes up for his feelings of abject inadequacy by rattling his phallic symbol nuclear missiles. When we factor in his demented notions of creating a Space Force… well… that’s when we’ve got to believe he’s lusting to first target you guys and next launch those nukes. You just gotta know, too, that he also yearns to get off while blasting off those suckers. In that sort of enraptured state, he’d be on (mushroom) cloud nine!

Need I go on?

A final word to the wise… if you’re still planning on a close encounter of any kind… please… whatever you do… you must ensure topflight maintenance of your flying saucers / starships! Prior to and during your visits to Earth, run precautionary, daily diagnostics of your propulsion systems / star drives, cloaking devices, shield generators and communication devices. As for your engines, when you shift them into reverse, you had better be able to net velocities that are on par with your forward speeds. In other words, you must be able to get out trouble as fast as you get into it. Believe me… to deal with Earth, in any way, is to get into trouble… spelled with a capital T.

You’d be well advised to reprogram your robot, too… I believe his name is Gort. To get fully into CYA mode, you must ensure that no Earthling ever tries to boss him around… order him to stand down by uttering…

“Klaatu barada nikto! Klaatu barada nikto! Klaatu barada nikto!”

While I do offer you the olive branch of peace… many other Earthlings would choose to use it to beat you to a pulp… or worse… as suggested in, yet, another deadly First Contact dramatization…

Why can’t the argumentative, quarrelsome, disputatious, captious, contrary, cantankerous, contentious; belligerent, bellicose, combative, antagonistic, truculent, pugnacious people of our world stand down and get along with each other… inclusive of aliens… be they terrestrial or extraterrestrial… i.e., the way the following happily-ever-after-ending plays out…

 

 

Calling All Stargazers and Kindred Spirits

 

Back in 1979, astrophysicist / author Carl Sagan and writer / producer Ann Druyan were both working diligently towards successfully launching their Sci-Fi film… Contact… off the Tinseltown storyboards and into our cineplexes.

Within six years, undue, unwanted, unproductive behind the scenes, Hollywood “drama” had begun to undo this dynamic duo’s momentum and, at one point, had even threatened to scrub their mission. As it turned out, it would take the transposition of 1979’s ending 7 and 9 digits before this film could be completed.

Sadly, mere months prior to that, Dr. Sagan, had succumbed to myelodysplasia (a pre-leukemic syndrome) and wound up shuffling off this mortal coil.

Had he survived, he certainly would’ve been on hand to high-five Contact’s screenplay writers James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg, director Robert Zemeckis and the entire cast and crew. He’d have especially applauded the multifaceted actress, Jodie Foster, for her stellar performance… for her breathing so much life into the film’s protagonist… the multidimensional astronomer Ellie Arroway.

Seeing how Sagan and Druyan’s core principles / personae had become so thoroughly infused into the Contact script’s pages (in a sense, right down to the atomic structure of the ink toner and papyrus) it was inevitable that Foster would tap into their attributes throughout the film… especially during the emotionally charged denouement… i.e., where Dr. Arroway had so passionately addressed the conclave of her wholly skeptical and wildly infuriated adversaries… had spoken of the life changing, journey to the cosmos, which had further heightened her pre-existing, astronomer’s lofty outlook on life.

Said she…

“I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious We all are! A vision that tells us that We belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that We are not, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if even for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and that hope. But… That continues to be my wish.”

SIDEBAR: Ironically, in an earlier scene (set within this same venue) many of these same inquisitors had expected agnostic Arroway to take a leap of faith… to no questions asked / no skepticism allowed… believe in the existence of a Supreme Being. YET… by film’s end… they, themselves, flat-out refused to take a similar leap of faith… to no questions asked / no skepticism allowed… believe in the existence of the superior alien civilization she claimed to have made first contact with.

So… why have I opted to review a 21-year-old film?

Contact makes contact with the very hearts and souls of everyone who has ever given a damn about the survival of our civilization. It is the skywatchers of our world who, perhaps, feel this the strongest… be We the professional or the backyard variety… be We telescopically enhanced or relying solely on the naked eye.

We can feel an affinity with all who have ever seen… who still see… beyond the pure science… all who speak of the awe, humility and hope, which our viewing experiences conjur up. Such a state of mind endures whether We are virtually traveling thru our ethereal, vast starlit cosmos or are wandering about our hometowns, homelands and home world.

Although we do remain resolute re the awe and humility aspects, holding onto hope is not always so easy. You see, its just as the celestial images begin to fade into the daylight… just as we’re coming back down to earth… where / when the heavyhearted dismay tends to resurface. Once again, our worldly thoughts zero in on the godforsaken, power-hungry, posturing, avarice driven, dictator zeros who usually wind up calling all the shots… and… in that capacity… are to blame for our global, sociopolitical and ecological disarray.

The run-of-the-mill, disconnected from our universe autocrat could never, truthfully, claim to be the humble servant he is supposed to be… could not even begin to fathom / embrace Saganesque awe, humility and hope. His typical reaction to viewing celestial objects / events would not likely garner much more than his yawned out words…

These are just dots in the sky, what more do you expect Me to say?

Me oriented leadership is precisely the problem. That odious, oafish What’s in it for me, Me, ME? bad ‘tude is the driving force behind virtually all of our societal ills. Their tormented, subjugated victims, while (oft literally) crying out for some much needed liberation, seldom possess the power to empower alternative, We oriented leadership.

Indeed, it’s the We oriented philosophy, which is so harmonious with the stargazers’ awe, humility and hope. This is amply illustrated within that above Arroway quotation where she thrice uttered the word “We”. And let’s not forget to include her inclusive language such as “us”, “ourselves” and “everyone”. Were such sentiments fully taken to heart by our leaders, We would already be well on our way to saving humanity from ruin.

It is no accident that Founding Father / author Gouverneur Morris began the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble with the words “We the People”. He and his constitutional compatriot co-writers deemed those three words so crucial that even the likeminded calligrapher, Jacob Shallus, had so boldly pen stroked those three key words in an enlarged font.

“We the People

of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

When such a proclamation births such a great nation, one has to wonder how any electorate could ever tap into some lame, Donny-Come-Lately’s slanderous, spurious / fake claim that America is no longer great. Ironically, such an entity is usually the one who… in the end… winds up threatening the very greatness of all great nations.

Why oh why is it that the nations of our world suffer such a deficit of We oriented leaders? One would expect admirable attributes such as awe and humility to be innate. Even if advancing this attitude involves nurture more than nature it should still be easily attainable.

Metaphorically speaking, We are all participants in the human race… a relay race. In the course of running our laps… concurrently upon our planet’s orbital path and the more down to Earth race track… the intergenerational passing off of the baton of human decency should occur without a hitch… a simple matter of the hand-off from each awe-humility-hope-harboring elder trainer to each awe-humility-hope-hungering youngster trainee.

I do have my parents to thank, for they not only deeply encoded / embedded awe-humility-hope into my infinitesimal DNA during my conception but also reinforced these attributes by handing off that “baton” to me during my formative years.

What a pity so many, who fancy themsleves leaders, cannot make a similar proclamation.

I do suppose that Awe-Humility-Hope sentimets… that We trumps Me ‘tude… all being second nature to the stargazers and other kindred spirits of our world, this is what accounts for our expectations that the rest of humanity will be willing to follow suit.

Let us hope that such sentiments… such expectations… are not overly optimistic.

 

 

A Sense of DNA Level Déjà Vu [Part 3]

 

Over the course of this blog series’ first two installments, you and I’ve been teleporting back to my July 28th, telescopic “travels” to Mars. While, we’ve been exploring my astronomical, philosophical and theological observations / musings, we have yet to ferret and flesh out the underlying causes of my chronic, Mars Mania “affliction”… that is until now.

With Part 3 about to unfold, I pause to announce a slight course correction re my mission to the cosmos. Rather than revisiting this past Saturday’s viewing session, we’ll be reliving the return to my backyard open air observatory at 3:50 a.m. EDT (0750 GMT) on this very day… July 31st. I just had to “be there” at that precise moment… at the very pinnacle of 2018’s Mars and Earth rendezvous… to experience the almost palpable cosmic magic in the air.

Remaining ever mindful of Part 3’s content prerequisites, as I metaphorically wander about the heavens and the recesses of my mind, I start to zero in on the origins of my personal obsession with Mars.

As I wistfully gaze upward, I briefly consider the possibility that aliens might be doing the same. Only my not wanting to wake up my neighbors prevents me from yelling skyward at the top of my lungs, “Is there anybody out there?” Of course, my dismay regarding the present-day ideological disarray of my homeland… our home world… has certainly, detrimentally impacted my attitude (not unlike a meteor hit). How so? Well, were any ET’s to ever flyby my neighborhood, I’d instantly stick out my thumb and attempt to hitch a ride. Even if their motives were unclear… even if it’d be a certain, one-way trip for me… in a heartbeat… I’d still take my chances and opt to forever leave planet Earth.

Alas… long sigh… on this night… there are no such, extraordinary, extraterrestrial vehicular light patterns in the skies… soooooo… I must make the best of the ordinary.

And I do that, precisely, by granting free rein to my boyhood recollections. Naturally, Mars themed literary works come to mind. First up, my Middle Schooler era, figurative feasting upon my book club purchased, paperback copy of H. G. Wells’ page turner, Sci-Fi novel, The War of the Worlds. Next up, come my elementary school library visits… my checking out astronomy textbooks… their authors’ content, eventually, proving to be more fiction than fact. About the only thing they had ever gotten right? The Red Planet’s 24 hour and 37 minute diurnal rotation!

That’s about all anyone could ever expect from authors “infecting” themselves with the “contagion” of astronomer Percival Lowell’s over-imaginative “strain” of Mars Mania (and I do good-naturedly employ those enclosed in quotation marks, italicized words). Their perpetuation of his fantasyland… an irrigation canal networked, hospitable to humans, environment… coupled with my younger, overly impressionable mind… accounts for my own fantasies of becoming a spacefarer aboard NASA’s very first Mars-ward bound spacecraft.

My mind next crossfades to the plights of Sci-Fi stranded astronauts portrayed in films such as 1964’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars (which takes literary liberties with the Daniel Defoe classic) and in 2015’s The Martian based on Andy Weir’s sci-fi book of the same title.

As these big screen drama scenes dissolve to the realm of the Sixtes era, small screen, Sci-Fi TV sitcom, I catch myself smiling as I recall My Favorite Martian episodes featuring earthling Tim O’Hara comedically interacting with his spacecraft crashed and marooned, ET “Uncle Martin”.

The TV images soon shift from the ridiculous to the sublime. Philosopher / astrophysicist / author Carl Sagan… via both his book and PBS miniseries Cosmos… presents his Blues For A Red Planet chapter / episode #5. That late, great man… the consummate scientist and dramatist… so adeptly, fact checks / debunks Lowellesque Mars Mania yet, simultaneously rekindles it with seasoned-by-science sanity. In his chapter’s / episode’s epilogue he even speculates…

“The power of Lowell’s idea may, just possibly, make it a kind of premonition. His canal network was built by Martians. Even this may be an accurate prophecy: If the planet ever is terraformed, it will be done by human beings whose permanent residence and planetary affiliation is Mars… The Martians will be us.”

It’s at that moment where my thoughts begin to set, along with Mars’ orb rapidly nearing the hazy, southwestern horizon. As I naked eye glimpse that bright orange dot slipping behind the approaching, thick veil of clouds, I begin loosening the clamps, separating my scope from its tripod.

As I look up one last time, my thoughts of Dr. Sagan’s Cosmos crossfade to his fictional work, Contact. It is during one of that film’s final scenes where silver screen star Jodie Foster… in the lead role of astronomer Ellie Arroway… so fervently… so eloquently… so tearfully serves upward, her own cosmic perspective as…

“A vision of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny and insignificant… and how rare and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves. That we are not… that none of us are alone! I wish i could share that. I wish that everyone… if even for one moment… could feel that awe and humility and hope. That continues to be my wish.”

To continue conveying and living those same sentiments is my wish, too! Hopefully, you feel similarly!

While the gradual dimming of that bright orange dot… a.k.a. Mars 2018… is inevitable in the days and weeks to come, my oneness with our universe shall shine on brightly… eternally. My continually blogging about Mars… on similar cosmic topics… will be unavoidable. After all…

“Transcendental moments, such as these, are where one’s worldly concerns dissolve into the rarefied air. Minds tend to free associate / wander and welcome the timelessness of it all. A sense of DNA level déjà vu also enters the mix… after all… has not humankind been stargazing ever since first standing up on two feet? Ever since that (then) newly evolved posture first allowed us to look upward to the eternal heavens?”

 

As for part 4 to this series… stay tuned…