Quandary begins with Q

“On October 19, 2017, a Canadian astronomer named Robert Weryk was reviewing images captured by a telescope known as Pan-starrs1 when he noticed something strange. The telescope is situated atop Haleakalā, a ten-thousand-foot volcanic peak on the island of Maui, and it scans the sky each night, recording the results with the world’s highest-definition camera. It’s designed to hunt for ‘near-Earth objects,’ which are mostly asteroids whose paths bring them into our planet’s astronomical neighborhood and which travel at an average velocity of some forty thousand miles an hour. The dot of light that caught Weryk’s attention was moving more than four times that speed, at almost two hundred thousand miles per hour. … By far the most spectacular account of 1I/2017 U1 came from Avi Loeb, a Harvard astrophysicist. ‘Oumuamua didn’t behave as an interstellar object would be expected to, Loeb argued, because it wasn’t one. It was the handiwork of an alien civilization.'” Elizabeth Kolbert

“I can’t believe TheAtlantic.com would hire a writer, presumably for his expertise in journalism who’s that off the mark, as well as an editor for his or her fact checking abilities who obviously lives within a reality separate from our own when it comes to defining who Juggalos truly are and what they’re about.The truth is it fuckin’ hurts and [it’s] scary seeing professional adults acting like savage bullies calling Juggalos ‘easy targets’ because they’re so misunderstood. Sad little bullshit like this makes me question the media in general and [lose] a little faith in just about [everything] I fuckin read!” Violent J of the Insane Clown Posse on having his fans compared to Trump supporters

“If you are in a large crowd and no one is named RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, or Masta Killa, you might be in danger. Also, unless Bill Belichick is there, I would be wary of any group of white people who refer to themselves as ‘patriots .’White people have very little to be concerned about and their ‘protests’ usually involve things they could fix by other means. They will crack open a cold Mountain Dew-flavored Bud Light while watching bodycam footage of a cop emptying a pistol into a Black motorist’s back but will furiously organize a demonstration to protect Santa-themed Starbucks cups. If there isn’t a slam poet explaining how ‘real eyes realize real lies,’ or a cipher of freestylers using the words ‘off the dome,’ start worrying. Mob shenanigans might be afoot.” Michael Harriot

“The world will little note, nor long remember, the 1776 Report. But before it passes entirely from memory, it is worth taking a moment to examine what it is and how it came to be, not because it is intellectually serious—in fact, it is a self-plagiarized mishmash of sanitized history, high school civics, right-wing gripes, and authoritarian gestures—but because of what it reveals about the rise of a certain strain of conservative ideology: fundamentalist ‘West Coast Straussianism.’” Joshua Tait

“The world should love lovers;but not theoreticians. Never theoreticians! Show them the door! Ladies, throw out these gloomy bastards!” From Saul Bellow’s Herzog

“None but a fool worries about things he cannot influence.” Dr. Johnson


“Where’s the KABOOM! There was supposed to be an Earth shattering KABOOM!”

This January has been nothing but a procession of odd facts and even odder events. Buried somewhere in all of it was not one, not two, but three invitations to seminars on how to stay safe while attending public events. All of which were aimed at people such as myself who have numerous public duties. While the invites came from three separate groups and all were run by the same fellow. I grabbed the first available and called it good.

Why?

Like all of you I hope to pass peacefully surrounded by loved ones and people who owe me money.

No use taking chances.

One thing that might help is to ratchet down our rhetoric and dabble in calmer topics. Now that the particle beam did not reveal Donald Trump to be a billion year-old being last week it’s time to set aside these johnny-come-lately delusions and go back to an elegant conspiracy from a more civilized time.

It’s time to bring back the UFOs.

Why?

Well for openers this guy claims the recent administration was more open to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. Supposedly he’s obtained 10,000 pages of information gathered by the CIA on the subject and he’s a bit miffed that the CIA said they gave him everything they had as he’s convinced there’s more where that came from. Despite his claims of having his hands tied he did publish one interesting document regarding the search for Radovan Karadzic that took place while Karadzic was a fugitive in the early 00s.

The money shot appears on the second page of the report.

Oh to be a fly on that wall.

ALIEN1: Your zurgness, the humans are calling.
ALIEN2: Tell them to call the DMT elves, we’re busy.
A1: The humans say the DMT elves aren’t picking up, everything goes to voicemail.
A2: Whatever it is tell them we have no idea and then round up our crew heating the planet. Tell them to stop heating the planet and start working on a voicemail system as impenetrable as the ones the humans have concocted. Then maybe we can get some work done around here.
A1: At once your zurgness!

And so on and so forth.

Given the clunk-awful prose the report must have been written by a total Herbert. If you look closely you’ll find it’s hard to tell whether or not the aliens have such advanced technology that they can understand every form of human communication or we’re merely besties who tell each other everything. That said it does bring up the question, where’s the harm in restoring UFO lore to its place as the king of conspiracy theories?

Think about it – nobody, who went around telling people how he got swept up by a beam of light only to come face to face some bug-eyed critter who wanted to stick something up his ass, ever got elected to Congress. But you run around telling people Hil ‘n Bill are doing unspeakable things in the basement of a pizza parlor you’re halfway to franking privileges.

Think about it.

Get back to me.

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash

This popped up in the ol’ inbox this morning.

Second, social media monopolies must be broken through more effective antitrust legislation. Imagine if every 18th-century coffee house had been a Starbucks! If social media spaces are the only place a public sphere can form in the 21st century, then they must be meaningfully diverse. The old blogosphere had many attributes of a public sphere, just as the earliest days of social media did. But blogs died as the big names became digital magazine columns, and as competition from social media drew more users in.

One thing I meant to touch on in the past post was Anna Wiener’s article about the rise of Substack. Wiener is a great writer and the author of Uncanny Valley which was sofa side-table reading at the start of the quarantine. Her dive into Substack comes as Substack is supposed to be the future and savior of sustainable journalism.* In short – Substack maintains website for a variety of writers who were once called A-Listers who have become disenchanted with the projects they moved onto having capitalized on their time as early 00 A-Listers.

All the Substacker has to do is write and Substack takes care of the rest.

Once upon a time – if memory serves – this was called “hosted blogging.”

Maybe you’ve heard of it.

Substack’s competitive advantage is in it’s business model which seems to be based on Ann Landers’ old quandary, “Why buy the cow when you’re getting the milk for free?”

While Substack’s stable included people like Andrew Sullivan and Matthew Yglesias you can only have a supermarket sample-size taste of their wisdom. If you want the whole meal you have to pay anywhere from $5 to $25 month.

One person did ask if I’d be joining Substack.

No.

And that is my solemn promise to all of you.

I will not come to you can ask for help to pay the $4.10/month to AWS to keep this page going.

Instead I will walk around all smug and self satisfied that my AWS account is in good standing while Parler was shown the AWS door.

While it might very well be quality drivel it’s not drivel worth paying for. This point was driven home as I’ve been slowly working through Martin Amis’s Inside Story which he says is neither essay nor novel. Unlike the American auteur, Jack Webb no names have been changed to protect the innocent. Kinglsey, Hitch, the children, the wives, and most importantly of all, the old girlfriend are designated by their real names.

The old girlfriend, Phoebe Phelps is the most interesting as she keeps turning up at the oddest times. Having not heard from her in years and years she calls Amis up on September 12,2001 to say his dad had made a pass at her while they were still involved. Never mind that they lived together for a lenghty stretch in the late 1970s she just then at that moment had to let him know.

Please don’t get the wrong impression. Their cohabitation was not so much romantic as necessity. Phobes, as he calls her, had a gambling problem. In the past she’d paid off off her markers by working as an escort and posing for Oui magazine. (Some of you gents out there will remember Oui as the also-ran Penthouse of the 1970s.) Sadly, her bet that Margaret Thatcher wouldn’t last six months turned out to be financially ruinous. Amis said she couldn’t turn to her family for help as they were perpetually broke despite the fact that her dad was a hereditary peer. Per her – one of her great-greats also had a gambling problem and was forced to mortgage the manor house. While subsequent generations learned the importance of fairness on the playing fields of Eaton, none seemed to be equipped with any business sense thus keeping everyone in arrears. Given all that he never portrays her as the crazy ex-girlfriend. Rather she comes across as a mixed bag, someone who is propelled through life by her eccentricities.

His last mention of her is a story about the time they went to Paris in the 1970s. Amis had an assignment to interview Roman Polanski who had recently arrived in Paris from America in order to avoid any legal entanglements regarding the evening he spent with a 13 year-old girl. Phobes said that while Amis was in the gents Polanski ran his hand up and down her leg and said she should ditch the newspaper loser and come with him up to his room. She declined and added this tale to the others she came forth with on September 12, 2001.

Why bring any of this up?

Because that’s content worth paying for.

And no one wants to put down good money to hear about the time the guidance counselor thought I should consider being an irrigation district supervisor if I expected to get anywhere in this life.

Lastly – I have no interest in talking about the election just past. If election fraud is the hot bur under your saddle that helps you sleep at night then God bless all who sail in you. I will be monitoring what comes of the 1/6 Capitol mess as I’m dead certain someone from my junior high years will eventually be outed as one of the mob. Those people back there didn’t elect The Redneck Rosa Klebb out of the goodness of their hearts. She got elected as she truly represents the people of her district because she’s just like them.

And with that thought and a mixed metaphor we’ve come to the point where it’s time to dance.

* Our current sustainable business model also includes Mom buying $10 in PowerBall tickets every Tuesday.