Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Still TPC


Anyone remember the antagonist – bad guy – in the movie “The President’s Analyst?” Does anyone at least remember the movie? It starred James Coburn as a secret agent who proved TPC was responsible for trying to take over the world. James Coburn, you know, the switchblade throwing cowboy in the Magnificent Seven? Well, this isn’t going as I planned.

If your memory is in the cloud and the Internet is down, TPC was going to implant Cerebrum Communicators in everybody’s brain and, well, I’m sure you know where that led. The plot is easily found on Wikipedia and other Internet sources, so if you plan on writing your Master’s Thesis on conspiracy theories, make sure you cite your sources accurately. You may have recalled by now TPC stood for The Phone Company.

TPC was the same group who sent an unmarked car with two of its people to my next door neighbor on SW 36th Street in Miami one evening in 1958. Jim C. was caught cheating TPC because he had surreptitiously installed a second telephone in his bedroom but hadn’t declared it to the TPC. If you don’t remember James Coburn, you definitely don’t remember when you paid a fee for every telephone in your house. A second extension cost extra, and TPC monitored ring current to every telephone number to make sure no one cheated. Any anomaly in the current required to ring your bell warranted a visit from the people in the unmarked car. Jim agreed to pay the “fee” for usage going back several months and we heard no more about it.

Skip ahead to what I did a just few moments ago, some sixty years later, when I blocked yet another scam telephone call. I know it was a scam because the call was from my own phone and I have it in my hand and as forgetful as I am at times, I know I didn’t just call me.

Are these calls being paid for? I seriously doubt anyone can defraud TPC by skirting or spoofing outbound calls. Are honest businesses being scammed into thinking these fraudulent, million dollar charges are really incurred by them? Somebody is paying big time for carrier access.

Do you think scammers are escaping the revenue sweep of TPC? I doubt it. It looks to me like TPC has found a way to make lemonade out of just about everything. Where is James Coburn when you need him?


Monday, June 7, 2021

​Of Geckos and Anoles

Every time I hear someone call one of our local, miniature dinosaurs a gecko, I want to stand up and yell at the top of my voice: THAT’S NOT A GECKO!

A constant, almost hourly barrage of television commercials for a car insurance company with a very similar name that calls their animated, iconic lizard a gecko has subliminally convinced our couch-potato, television addicted civilization all lizards here in Florida are geckos.

The effect of the media bombardment has been astonishing. It seems nobody cares what the brown, sometimes green, lizard running across the leaves on your hibiscus really is. Its identity slips slowly into the complacency that makes existence in today’s mind-numbing world acceptable. I wouldn’t be surprised me if someone asked, “Do they really talk?” Right. And they drive little red sports cars, too! The natural instinct to find the quickest, easiest path through our daily rituals is the culprit for our acceptance of blissful, inconsequential ignorance.

Oh, we called them by the wrong names when I grew up in South Florida, too, but it wasn’t a willing disregard of facts. It was simply pre-Internet naivete. There was no deluge of information available at our fingertips back then. We still did everything in longhand, which today is called cursive. If I wanted to research what everyone called them, it meant a bus ride to the library and even then it might still come out as the colloquial name. We called them chameleons.

We called the harmless little lizards that turned from bright green to brown if you put them on a paper grocery bag chameleons because they could change colors. My mom told me they were even sold as chameleons in certain novelty or dime stores back in the late 30’s and early 40’s, complete with dainty golden collars and attaching chains. I assumed most of them starved to death while attached to some lady’s lapel. We allowed them to roam wild on our backyard screened porch - oh, sorry, today that’s called a lanai - because they ate bugs.

This isn’t the first time television has corrupted my Florida culture. Try to find Dolphin on your sea-food restaurant menu. It’s still there, but it’s now known as Mahi-Mahi. Why? Because a television show from years ago convinced the masses they were eating one of the stars of their show, a Bottle-nose Dolphin known as “Flipper” instead of the pelagic, deep sea fish the Cubans call Dorado. Restaurants changed the name to the Hawaiian name, Mahi-mahi, and the delicious fish has regained its popularity. Flipper is now safe from hungry seafood neophytes.

It has been many years since the Green Anole dominated the local gardens and shrubs of south Florida. It has been displaced - but not eliminated - in recent years by its dark-brown cousin from the Bahamas. They both share size and many physical attributes, their colors being the obvious difference. Several variations of the Bahamian Anole develop a ridge along the spine that resembles a small dinosaur. All males have the same red neck sack, or fan, boisterously inflated when attempting to attract females.

The Green Anoles, sometimes known today as Carolina Anoles, and the now numerically superior brown Bahamian Anole, and even the latest newcomer, the relatively large and rather unfriendly Cuban, or Knight Anole, all share one common trait: They all live here in Florida and THEY ARE NOT GECKOS!


Friday, June 4, 2021

Rebirth of the UFO – An Jaundiced Analysis


Have you ever noticed when something falls out of public interest, someone – usually with a vested interest in keeping that subject in the spotlight – manages to rekindle enough controversy to reignite the average citizen’s curiosity? UFOs are passé, so how about UAPS? Wow, now I’m interested! Change the name to Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and a whole new generation perks up their ears.

Unidentified Flying Objects – UFOs – are as outdated as calling relocatable school buildings portable. The word portables for schools has been stripped from out lexicon, even though when I went to Olympia Heights Elementary School in Miami in the 1950’s, every building in the entire school was a “portable.” But I stray here. That name of the portable classroom was changed for image purposes, apparently to help salvage my self-esteem. Someone thought it sounded more civilized to say “Relocatable.”

While UFO’s also suffered from an image problem – they are associated with people who wear colanders on their heads and swear they’ve had their credit cards stolen by little green men – the real problem with UFOs was people simply lost interest.

Before I go any further, I need to ask you several questions; When you are riding in a car looking straight ahead, does the landscape move from side to side? In my experience, it only moves left or right when the car I’m in is turning. When the car quits turning, so does the landscape. If I watch a vehicle I am following, the relative size of the vehicle stays the same unless I am catching it – it gets bigger – or if it is pulling away from me – then it gets smaller. If I look out the window to my side, the landscape whizzes by and nothing keeps up with me except once when my dad was racing a train. Second question: Ever look through a “Heads Up” display? Me neither, but I know it doesn’t look like riding on a merry-go round holding a camera they way they did when they shot the sky-scooter scenes in the first Star Wars film.

Not many Air Force veterans know which state the famous Area 51 is in, much less what goes on there. Suffice to say I spent eight years in the Air Force and I don’t have a clue. I know we have secret airplanes and some really neat stuff we don’t want anyone to know about that we have to fly to test. Somewhere away from prying eyes and Russian spies. I’m pretty sure that’s what goes on in Area 51.

Let me continue. I have no doubt we don’t understand everything we see. That’s why the word “Unidentifiable” is the common link between UFOs and UAPs, but I know horse pockey when I see it, and I’m seeing a lot of it lately.

I have a feeling the Navy Tailhook gang is having a grand laugh at our expense with some really cool, albeit strangely repetitive, oddly familiar "videos." More power to them, it keeps the Qanon nonsense off the news media.