Ye Olde Editor-in-Webmonkey's severely sprained ankle (reported last issue) is healing nicely, the pain is diminishing daily, and I'm almost walking normally now. Thanks to everyone who called or wrote expressing support and/or gave helpful suggestions, it was most sincerely appreciated.
And now for a couple of nutty headlines that caught my attention this week...
Long-time readers are aware of my fascination with UFOs and the probability of extraterrestrial life. Publicly, I've never taken a hard-core position on the existence of UFOs, preferring instead to say we "need to do more research" on the topic.
America had its "Project Bluebook", a UFO reporting and investigative agency, which closed in the '60s. Most other countries have some sort of alien-monitoring agency, even if it's just for show.
Citing the high costs of operation, the British military has shut down its UFO hotline and associated email contacts. This brings to an end a half-century commitment by the United Kingdom to helping UFO witnesses find a sympathetic ear.
According to the Ministry of Defense, ditching the UFO office will translate to an annual savings of around $73,000 a year, money much better spent supporting the 9,500 soldiers the country has deployed to Afghanistan. No jobs were lost as a result of this decision, and the military isn't taking a position on the existence of UFOs or alien life.
Naturally, some of the British public are upset at the decision, UFO clubs charging they are now helpless to involve the military should aliens invade us. Officials state that in fifty years of reports, no evidence for a national security threat related to UFOs ever surfaced.
Now, I can't fault the Ministry their logic for finding better uses for the money, but seriously: $73,000? That's it? If they're having to look at that little sum to bolster their army they're in worse financial shape than realized! I figure for that sum it's worth keeping the Hotline open, if for nothing else, to give the nuts and screwballs a destination for their ravings.
Still, it signals the end of an era of sorts, one of several that fans of the paranormal may have to painfully endure over the coming years as some of our most cherished subjects are routinely discarded as the hoaxes and marketing gimmicks they likely always were.
I didn't think anything I discovered about this talented but looney individual would surprise me, but, it just goes to show, you never know.
Recently released was an image of a painting by David Nordahl depicting Michael as a nearly naked religious figure surrounded by child-like cherubs -- all male --who are placed closely around, some putting flows in his hair. According to sources, there are around 75 other Nordahl paintings commissioned by the King of Pop. Some cast Jackson in the light of Peter Pan, King Arthur and a superhero.
The most distressing thing to me about Michael Jackson (I won't even address sexual issues, that's too out there -- and speculative), is that no matter how much success he enjoyed, or money he amassed, or property he acquired, or famous he got, it was never enough. The man hated himself. He hated how he looked, he hated his ethnicity, and never felt accepted.
The man who lived a storybook version of American success himself had to build and re-build an artificial environment to surround himself with the fantasy life he so wished he could be a part of. He had to remake his own face dozens of times to distance himself from .... himself.
The Jackson family is not crazy about the images of these paintings being released to the public, and it's not hard to see why.
It's hard to believe the year 2009 is almost over. As 2010 looms ever closer, it is time to take stock of what's happened, thank those whose contributions helped bring us this far, and look ahead to the future.
To this end, I'm alerting all PCR writers that, after this week, there are only two issues left in the 2009 Archive Calendar. Please consider this when planning and composing your final two issues for 2009, #51 and #52.
As always, the two-part year-end PCR wrap-up begins with issue #51, next week's issue. I will try and summarize this nutty year in as few words as possible, always a challenge, along with mentions of highlights and lowlights. Awards and citations will be given for most valuable players, recognition given for newer columns that stood the test of time, and, of course, the "PCR Graveyard of Fallen Columns" has several new tombstones.
It's been a most trying year, more than I ever anticipated. Hopefully, 2010, where we here at CF/PCR celebrate ten solid years on the web, will be truly glorious.