Aliens, Monks And The Kumbaya Moment

October 6, 2010

I stumbled down a rabbit hole in cyberspace the other day. One moment I was reading the comments on an article posted on Newsweek‘s site; the next I was searching for information on one of the commentator’s claims.

The comment referenced speculation about what would happen in 2012.

According to a piece in the India Daily from six years ago, Tibetan monks expect aliens to arrive in 2012 , clink the heads of the humans together like Moe did the other Stooges and get us to quit engaging in jackassery.

There are also folks that believe aliens have bases in the Himilayas.

It’s entirely possible I suppose.

It seems that every religion on the planet has followers that are militantly enthusiastic, but, if there are militant Buddhists, I haven’t heard about them.

Traveling in Thailand, I often saw Buddhist monks, clad in their bright orange robes. It was not uncommon to come across one of them sitting in prayer or meditation in the middle of the sidewalk as the flow of pedestrians gave a respectful berth.

After travelling however many thousands of light years to some strange world, who wouldn’t opt to attempt communication with the beings that seem to be calm, cool, and collected?

(as opposed to the ones behaving like poop-flinging monkeys)

It makes total sense that Buddhist monks would be sought out by the aliens.

As someone that is still transfixed when I happen upon Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, I hope that this forthcoming alien experience resembles the one in that movie.

The visitors arrive with a lightshow that dazzles the humans with the ultimate – and peaceful – display of shock and awe.

Then, Buddhist monks make the introductions.

The bobble-headed, child-like aliens are a global sensation.

Children love them.

Adults are charmed by them.

Madonna makes an embarassing attempt to adopt one.

The world’s leaders are called to the mothership for a trip to the galactic principal’s office and everyone on planet Earth gets a whole lot more humble.

(given the situation in Tibet, I’d think the Chinese would feel rather awkward)

And everyone lives happily ever after.

Yeah. It all makes sense.

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind arrived in theaters in mid-November, 1977. Thirty-three years ago, I was nine-years old and eagerly anticipating the film’s release. I had minimal interest in music, but here is a quartet of songs that were on Billboard‘s charts during this week in 1977…

Electric Light Orchestra – Telephone Line
from Strange Magic: The Best Of Electric Light Orchestra

ELO is one of those bands that is always welcome to shuffle up on the iPod. I can’t say that I’m familiar with much beyond their hits (though there were plenty of those for the band in the ’70s).

I know that the group gets slagged some for being some pale imitation of The Beatles, but, if you’re going to imitate an act, you could do far worse, yes? And Telephone Line is simply gorgeous and angelic.

The Carpenters – Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft
from Gold: 35th Anniversary Edition

I’ve loved The Carpenters since hearing them on the radio during their ridiculous string of hits in the early ’70s. The radio wasn’t on too often in our household, but it was usually on in the car and, if it was on, there was rarely a long wait to hear something from the duo.

Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft is a cover of a song by Klaatu (who, like ELO, had their own connection to The Beatles).

This song has really grown on me over the years. I don’t really recall hearing it back in the day, but it has a wonderfully spacey vibe, an odd, yet endearingly jaunty midsection and, as always, Karen’s voice makes it worth the price of admission.

(and, it happens to suit the subject at hand well)

Styx – Come Sail Away
from The Grand Illusion

I’ve noted that Styx – on their infamous Kilroy Was Here tour – was my first concert.

But years before, my buddy Beej’s older brother had The Grand Illusion on eight-track and I was fascinated by the cover. We’d hang out in Beej’s basement and blast the album until parental supervision intervened.

(and, like The Carpenters’ song, this one also fits this post’s themes)

Foreigner – Cold As Ice
from Foreigner

Foreigner’s debut album also has a link to an older brother. Lynn, lived in our neighborhood with Evan, who was roughly the same age as me and my other friends. Sometimes we’d shoot hoops at their house.

As I think back to then, Lynn kind of resembled a young Axl Rose and, pondering him from thirty-years of experience, was undoubtedly a stoner. He drove a black Trans-Am and he’d tear through the neighborhood, Foreigner blaring from the eight-track player in the car.

(would a stoner have listened to Foreigner in 1977?)

Though the group received little love from critics, Foreigner put out some great songs, peaking with the mega-selling Foreigner 4 in ’81. The dramatic Cold As Ice has all of the things – a nifty balance between guitar and keyboards, soaring vocals, and immediately memorable choruses – that made Foreigner a high school staple.

Vatican Chooses To Not Stifle God’s Creative Freedom

May 15, 2008

In good news for extraterrestrial life everywhere, the Vatican Observatory has stated that the existence of such life is cool with the Vatican’s chief astronomer. And, in good news personally, apparently I won’t be condemned to burn in Hell if I choose to believe in the existence of aliens.

Then, within twenty-four hours, the British released over 1,000 pages of formerly secret UFO documents including documented sightings that didn’t take place following an evening at a pub. What gives with the sudden rush to embrace and accept out-of-towners?

Years ago, I had the “opportunity” to work with a band whose lead singer claimed to be an alien abductee. He and the bassist brought me into the circle of trust on this particular matter one evening over drinks. As it was at the height of The X-Files popularity, they expressed their concern that, a) they would be accused of shameless pandering and, b) they would be known as “that alien band.”

Outside of their company at the time, they had no reason for concern.

Of the many nuggets of information which they imparted to me, one item was that the government was biding its time, waiting for aliens to become commonplace in popular culture, to reveal the existence of extraterrestrials. This would ensure a seamless transition when the aliens started showing up in bars, grocery stores, and the cubicle next to you at work.

This summer, Paloma and I will be attending her family reunion where we’ll see her father and grandfather, both retired Air Force colonels. Let it be known to all, I intend to get answers (and, preferably, in a manner which will not alienate the family of the girl I love).

Personally, like Mulder, when it comes to the existence of alien life, “I want to believe.” And, in the words of a professor I had for an occult class, “It’s a big world. There’s a lot going on.”

As for the Vatican, they said that ruling out such extraterrestrial life would be “putting limits” on God’s creative freedom. I’m sure She’ll be relieved to know that She has been given the green light to run the universe as She sees best.

David Bowie – Loving The Alien
The album Tonight was hardly a high point for Mr. Bowie and, yet, I seem to recall it being greeted with decent reviews initially. However, Loving The Alien is always on any compilation of Bowie that I make. I also seem to recall that it was only available as a bonus track on the cassette release of Tonight.

Radiohead – Subterranean Homesick Alien
For several years, I was the head buyer for a very large record store, making me privy to advance releases on which I could pass judgment to my label reps. Sometimes, I was woefully far off, as when – despite being a big fan of their debut – I pronounced Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? as “too British” to succeed in the States. On the other hand, after one listen to Radiohead’s OK Computer, I deemed it to be “an instant classic.”

Milla – Alien Song (For Those Who Listen
One of the more pleasant surprises of the aforementioned gig was a 1994 album by supermodel/actress Milla Jovavich. It was hardly earth-shattering or groundbreaking, but a pleasant and dreamy affair nonetheless. Of course, Jovavich was in the movie Dazed And Confused, which included the character of Slater opining on aliens. She also played an otherworldly being in The Fifth Element. Perhaps we should be asking Milla what she knows about the subject.

Lamb – Alien