Sunday, April 03, 2016

A Star In Kansas (Part I of II)

Photo by Bryce Zabel

A Star In Kansas
by Alfred Lehmberg


Map Navigation, whether it be 3D in the air between unfamiliar strings of seemingly identical terrain features—where, by the way, legitimately offended persons shoot guns and missiles at you—or, on an equally unfamiliar two-dimensional ground fraught with Fast Food joints and fundamentalist churches firing slower, more "time-released" missiles... ...Maps have always been that proverbial royal pain.  

"Old map navigation" included frequent sick dreads provoked where you didn't know where you were, believing you missed a turn, and were too sparsely punctuated with little dopamine squirts provoked by locations joyfully confirmed. Not so, currently.  

Those days are passed.  Now it's all dopamine.

As I've written before, 21st Century technologies turn the aforementioned dreary roadway aggravations—dangerous back-tracks and their precipitated road-rages—into an opportunity to be enlightened from a comfortable chair in learned halls and erudite classrooms.  Verily, it's a little like driving down the road while able to watch movies and documentaries.

This is the contrarily enjoyed activity, reader, while an unending cascade of strangely presented sceneries slides passed in substantive synchronicity, a preparation for the destination and not something odious to be endured, necessarily, in its regard, you see?  It's the trip, not the destination. One has heard that before. The trip can be icing on the destination's cake.

That destination?  Kansas, friend, the bona fide beating heart in the American heartland, world breadbasket, and host to at least two of my "Best EVERs" for satisfaction's burgers or buffet brunch under 20 dollars.  The Beer would have been on the list, too, but I've lived in Germany where beer for breakfast is not entirely out of line, eh?  The beer just missed.

Specifically, I was in Lawrence, Kansas, home of Kansas University's fighting Jayhawks, and the town which put the threat and abject horror of nuclear war on the global map as a result of its participation in that world famous film, The Day After.  Lawrence had a decided hand in the break-up of the Soviet Union, I suspect, and serious arms reduction. 

It does seem odd that Lawrence keeps popping up on the frightening and even wild-assed paranormal screen via treatments the likes of the recently re-released Dark Skies, a first season episode of Supernatural, and another atomic melodrama called, Jericho. This only begins the list.

Enter conference producer Dan Lauing.  Lauing is an imposing figure, looking more like a Jayhawks fullback able to pull off deserving heads for hacky-sacks than what he ends up to actually be: one of the more deeply feeling human beings I've ever had the honor to make the acquaintance of, eh?  He's no pussy-willow, mind you, even with his heart worn decidedly on a sleeve.  A master stone-worker, he effortlessly top-kicks lasting projects to the tune of 85 men employed at a pop, so no shrinking violet or retiring willow, he.  He's got something well bagged and together, still... he can cry.

He cried when he met me at the Eldridge Hotel.  He cried when he opened the conference across the street at Freedom Hall.  He cried until the third day with many of the presenting persons he introduced.  No, he was by report not ordinarily so emotive, and no, he didn't blubber or wail or produce mucous like he might have, but his eyes would fill and there would come a quaver in his voice that necessitates a short stoppage, a turn away from the audience and a struggle to regain control.  Some critics smirk and sneer with no thought to what might produce these inconvenient and embarrassing tears.

I've given thought.  Those self-disclosing, inconvenient, and embarrassing tears are actually pretty laudable, eminently condonable, completely understandable, and altogether forgivable. 

See, Lauing is a historian of sorts, in addition to other substantive talents, and he is well aware of the whole... suitcase-nukes-sailed-surreptitiously-into-American-harbors-by-well-provoked-and-handily-facilitated-enemies, scenario, eh?  His home town, one remembers, put the horror of the nuclear holocaust on the map as I've already pointed out, and, indeed... this threat, complicated by documented UFOs demonstrating seeming input to the very disposition of those same nuclear weapons, is the running theme of his first annual OZUFO conference.

Consider, friend.  You put together regular travailed life with the burdens of producing that "first-time"—period—UFO conference.  Easier said than done.  

Entailed is the perceived attendant clutch of needy ufological cats (Conference participants) refusing to be remotely herded.  This ablates, always! 

Mix in some intimate knowledge of the dangers of nuclear power and their brother weapons of mass destruction, and then leaven all that with the breaking mainstream report that... radioactive 747s are arriving, presently, from Japan!  Your worst fears seemingly realized, reader, on the first day of your same-themed conference painstakingly produced for months... Well, that may produce some tears from the strongest man.  We will say no more regardingtears produced by Dan Lauing. 

Dan Lauing, a smart man, is additionally a good man of undeniable character with the courage of conviction to put his money where his conscience is.  That's all one really has to know about Dan Lauing.

Exorcising, first, the non-sequitur of most remaining negatives, there has additionally been some discussion with regard to the Lawrence, Kansas Oz Summit as "not enough about UFOs."  This is a comment valid on its face and forgivable given that a UFO conference really should lean in the direction of UFOs, sure.  That seems a no-brainer.  Only...

Believing something should be... a way the believer believes it should be... might preclude what something could be, to a degree; can you agree?  To believe the one is to disbelieve the other which might aspire to something even more pertinent.  See how limiting "belief" can prove to be? 

The conference still was about UFOs, actually, but not just the UFOs themselves. That's been done in extremis, and badly too. Lauing tried to reach a little further, even where grasp was exceeded.  Reach trains grasp, remember; I believe it's obvious.

No, their effect was explored.  Their consequence was investigated.  Their implications were considered.  Their history was examined.  Their abject and utter strangeness was regarded.  There's a lot more going on with UFOs than what one sees in the usual yellow pages, eh? 

Indeed, UFOs have an eclectic gravitas not only stranger than we know but stranger than we can know, you know?  All that bears more regard than it gets, sadly.  Still, novelty can only be wrested from the darkness exposed by the revealing light.  This conference aspired to be that revealing light.

For the attendee paying real attention? This conjecture was born out rather well in a manner acceptable where it wasn't objective and enlightening... where it wasn't specific, for my money... a wholly productive, ultimately useful, and decidedly unusual affair it proved to be, if you're paying attention.

See, there more to UFOs than merely UFOs.  There's the imposition of seeming UFO occupants on our fellow human beings heralded by Kim Carlsberg, for example, as they are made flesh in the stunning reproduction of their collected artwork and textual explications.  

Little on nuts and bolts of UFOs, agreed, but these corporeal craft strongly suggest "organized" occupancy. They suggest something so extant if enigmatically forsworn in day and night time skies. They would seem to have a decided and existential impact on all manner of persons Ms. Carlsberg beautifully iterates.  It is high strangeness compelling the compelled, who in turn illustrate it for the rest of us.  Thanks, Kim.

Indeed, the late John Mack, MD, Ph.D., Pulitzer Prize winner, Harvard Chair, and open abduction researcher—in (a now dubious) public dismissed as a "naïve dreamer" missing the mark by the late artist Budd Hopkins—allowed as even a purely psychological explanation to the Abduction conundrum would be in itself a complete astonishment! Though, the altogether non-dissimilar "experiential" thread Mack had discovered vis a vis his research into perceived abductions (illustrating a not-bad-if-uncomfortable-enlightenment-over-the-necessarily-hell-borne-assignation of Jacobs/Hopkins, so to speak) was the rule, not the exception. Moreover, Macks books reflected the same sentiment.

The 'other' as potential, perhaps, to step up... not to be cast back to fiery pits of a jealous God's damnation!   Better, then, not worse... and?  Inevitable, anyway!  See what can be perceived paying a more non-predisposed attention?  

"Amour Mama, not cheap display!"  Joni Mitchell

Then there's Sam Maranto, my new favorite guy in the rough and tumble UFO mine-field.  Wife Julie will be left for a subsequent article I'm sure, although I will always remember her as bringing me, literally, to my knees...

Sam and Julie in repose!

But, back to Sam!  What an unpredicted seeming nexus for singular wit, aplomb under pressure, and a genuine monumental style. What a guy!

Sam puts UFOs in the street with the savvy manner of the inspirational union leader where that leader's seen "the man's" books and knows a serious recompense and redistribution is in sincere order with all deliberate speed! So it is with the man's UFO "books," eh? 

You know, books with inexplicably dismissive entrees on the likes of the Tinley Park Lights, a silent craft hovering ominously above the tidy burg on numerous occasions and witnessed by hundreds. Or, when they're not just hovering ominously, they're providing an obvious hazard to civil aviation when lurking over international airports like they did at O'Hare...  

Mr. Maranto underscores the unavoidable consequence to our social system, organs of authority: losing relevancy or credibility and earning only enmity for their stark betrayal of our trust in these UFO matters, et sig al.  These won't evade public wrath forever.

Frank n' Stan!
Next comes more support for existential UFOs—Roswell in Reasonable Redux.  No clueless groans, please.  First Stanton Friedman frames the problem set on Existential UFOs as only he can.  Something substantive happened at Roswell, for example, it was covered up by the authorities who re-substantiate evolved lies over and over again, periodically, in a manner as stunningly unimaginative as it is annoyingly stupid.  It's their running official theme, Mr. Friedman can handily show.

Bryce Zabel
Appearing then is Bryce Zabel, a crack creator of standout films and television series like the actually prescient Dark Skies.  He discussed how his very compelling series might be taken as kind of a disclosure lite, actually, an honest exploration of the societal truths and consequences of an imminent disclosure event.  This was presented while illustrating the mechanisms of that odious governmental military/industrial complex that, supporting the oldest technology and paradigms, evades and prevaricates presently from said disclosure.  Our protectors aren't protecting us, reader.  Their master is the strengthening and overweening corpocracy.

Colonel Marcel
Once Zabel concludes, you get to spin up on the apple-pie-down-home and real as it gets Jesse Marcel Junior, Army full bird Colonel, Medical Doctor, Army Flight Surgeon, and, just returned from active duty in Afganistan, a rated rotary-wing aviator.  

Marcel regales the listener as regards how he held flying saucer flotsam in his hands as a child...  Show me how this man, a hero in deed and accomplishment by all measures, can fabricate the story as a lying ruse and provide for the remotest dishonor to himself or others including family and friends.  Closing on Marcel, here was the ETH so far up the listener's nose one feels its knees pushing in top teeth!

Finally, Donald Schmitt fires forward like an impassioned Unitarian minister from behind the podium/pulpit to roll the congregation back entirely with his take on the Roswell affair as it evolves into the 21st Century with new witnesses, accounts, and discoveries.  Indeed, one could become a lesser expert on the Roswell issue just as a function of their attention on the persons making their presentations.  Sneers and smirks in Roswell's regard lose all force and confidence where the presentations dovetail so seamlessly into each other with such complementary mutual support.  ...Especially sincere given it is unplanned

Established, then, that first day:  a logical and legitimately rational framework for the existential reality of the UFO... pretty much covering my own evidentiary categories to include (1) the Historical text regarding UFOs, (2) Artistic Historical pieces pertaining to same, (3) quality Anecdotal via multiple witnesses and corroborated by radar, (4) vetted Photographic pieces from all but undisputed experts, (5) extant Physical Traces.

Next:  Unsettling Nuke fiddlers, perils of civilization break-way, and more embraceable affairs!