Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Space Alien and The Martian

Flipping through TV channels the other night the Space Alien noticed that the movie The Martian starring Matt Damon was playing and decided to watch.  This brought back poignant memories, since the Space Alien was deeply involved in the making of this film.

Aeschylus
The Space Alien might have had a distinguished stage career beginning in Ancient Greece when Aeschylus begged the Space Alien to read for Agamemnon.  The Space Alien would certainly have been chosen for the title role, but for some unpleasant issues with Athenian Actors Equity.

The same was true years later when Sophocles tried unsuccessfully to cast the Space Alien as Antigone, the brave young princess sealed in a cave.

Euripides was mightily impressed with the The Space Alien's reading for the part of one of the gods in The Trojan Women, but that fell through when the producers could not decide whether the role of Poseidon or Athena would be most appropriate.   The Space Alien finally landed a minor role as one of Aristophanes' frogs, but that's hardly worth mentioning. 
Sophocles


Euripides
Aristophanes



Centuries later, the Space Alien jumped at the chance to star in Chiraq, Spike Lee's modern adaptation of Aristophanes' play, Lysistrata, in which strong women deny love to warlike men, a theme appealing to the Space Alien's peaceful nature.
Angela Bassett


Once again the Space Alien was disappointed when Spike Lee selected Angela Bassett for the part for which the Space Alien had so eagerly auditioned.  Upon seeing this film, however, the Space Alien acknowledged that the lovely and talented Ms. Bassett was the better choice for this role.


Matt Damon on Mars
The Space Alien's dramatic yearnings were stirred yet another time upon learning that there was to be a film produced on Mars, one of the Space Alien's favorite vacation spots.  The auditions were exhausting and while the Space Alien, who made it as far as the final cut, was initially dejected to learn that Matt Damon was at last selected for the leading role as an astronaut accidentally left behind on Mars, there was no resentment, inasmuch as this actor clearly possessed the extraordinary mathematical skills (as demonstrated in the film Good Will Hunting) so necessary for an astronaut.

In fact, the Space Alien was delighted when asked by the producers of The Martian to serve as the location advisor on Mars, where duties included helping cast and crew find whatever they needed.    The Space Alien's deep knowledge of this ruddy planet paid off handsomely in helping Matt Damon and the others on location find the best coffee shops, the trendiest juice bars and the most interesting landscapes for background images.  All in a day's work thought the Space Alien, who made lots of friends there and hopes these connections might someday lead to personal dramatic fulfillment.

[Editors note: This is a bit of a WikiLeak because the public has been led to believe that the Mars scenes in The Martian were actually filmed in the Jordanian desert.  The Editor acknowledges that the Space Alien Gazette is taking a huge risk by revealing that the actual filming venue was on Mars, and hopes it will not be necessary for our staff to flee the country en masse in search of asylum because of this posting.]

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This Just In!  August 29, 2016.  The Space Alien truly appreciates the hundreds of messages from readers sympathizing with the Space Alien's efforts in pursuing a professional acting career, as well as the many practical suggestions offered.

The Space Alien found some of these suggestions unacceptable.  For example, one curious reader asked why the Space Alien had not auditioned for the title role in E.T.   In fact, Steven Spielberg offered this role to the Space Alien who declined on the grounds that a role involving being carried about in a bicycle basket might result in future type-casting eliminating the prospects for leading roles in romantic comedies.

The same would be true of similar roles in films involving other space creatures.   While some of these films might be discussed in future entries, suffice it to say that the Space Alien would prefer not to be stereotyped in this manner.

Recommended Theatrical Agent

One loyal reader went so far as to suggest the services of a specific theatrical agent to negotiate with producers, and even sent a picture of this agent who bore superficial resemblance to a cat.

As to engaging a cat or cat-like creature as an agent, the Space Alien would never discriminate in hiring based on physical attributes, but feels strongly that the best impression would be made by personal communication, displaying the Space Alien's full range of talent and compelling personal appearance.


To that end, a head shot of the Space Alien is attached which interested readers are welcome to share.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Space Alien Visits Cedar Point

En route to the Cleveland Clinic for a program on preventing and reversing heart disease (see the post Caring for a Caring Heart) the Space Alien insisted on making a stop in Sandusky, Ohio to visit the famous amusement park at Cedar Point.

The Space Alien Takes a
Roller Coaster Ride in the
Interests of Good Health
The Space Alien claimed to have been advised by a physician that riding on the famous roller coasters at Cedar Point would make even the most sluggish heart beat vigorously.  While Your Editor found the "medical advice" ploy dubious, she agreed to a detour from the Ohio Turnpike so that the hard-working Space Alien could have a little fun.

Located on a peninsula jutting into Lake Erie, Cedar Point boasts seventeen roller coasters, including some of the largest in the world.  People come from miles around to experience these thrilling rides, and the Space Alien was thrilled to try them all.

The Space Alien tried to entertain other tourists on the steep downslides and corkscrews by telling jokes and reciting limericks.  This turned out to be somewhat frustrating as the other tourists, screaming in terror, paid no attention to the Space Alien's efforts to entertain them.  But this did little to dampen the Space Alien's overall enjoyment!

Here are some photographs your editor (who stayed on the ground) took of the Space Alien aboard the roller coasters at Cedar Point:


Later the Space Alien said that while the rides were fun and the other tourists (even the ones who threw up) were pleasant, this experience was fairly tame and did not come close to the tachyonic velocities exceeding the speed of light at which the Space Alien normally travels. The Space Alien wondered whether polishing the tracks a bit might help.


Your Editor and the Space Alien agreed on one thing: nothing can match the pure aesthetic experience of riding the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Caring for a Caring Heart!

The Space Alien is ever mindful of the health of those who toil in the busy offices of the Space Alien Gazette; the reporters, editors, photographers, designers, and others who work so hard to bring you important news which the Space Alien hopes will improve your lives!

This is why, this past May, the Space Alien traveled to Cleveland with Your Editor to attend a program conducted by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn at the Wellness Center of the world-famous Cleveland Clinic, on the topic of preventing and reversing cardiovascular disease.

The Space Alien hoped readers would benefit from learning about this program that offers scientific and practical information about the relationship between the foods we eat and cardiovascular health.


Space Alien Takes an 
Underwater Swim
 
Since the Space Alien is easily distracted, your editor went along to take notes and otherwise be of service.

The Wellness Center of the Cleveland Clinic enjoys a bucolic niche in the midst of a busy metropolitan area.  Surrounded by a forest of trees, it overlooks a lovely pond where Your Editor photographed the Space Alien enjoying a healthful early morning underwater power swim.


Dr. Esselstyn Takes Off



Following this refreshing exercise, the Space Alien accompanied Your Editor to join some 20 others - physicians and lay people - eager to hear from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Dr. Esselstyn, a tall, athletic octogenarian, soon strode into the room, stripped off his lab coat down to shirtsleeves, and proceeded to lecture on the relationship between food and cardiovascular disease (which he calls a "foodborne illness").

We learned how our circulation -- so vital to the health of heart and brain -- is affected by what we eat.  The Space Alien, possessed of a gentle, kind and loving heart and a razor sharp and insightful brain, resolved to heed this message.

Blood Vessels in Trouble
Dr. Esselstyn's slides showed blood vessels that had not been well-treated and were rife with bulges, breaks and nasty bits of fatty stuff capable of shutting them down.

Many owners of these badly burdened circulatory systems had serious health issues, and it saddened the Space Alien to learn how much misery might have been avoided with this information.

The Space Alien became more determined than ever to urge everyone to adopt a diet of plain, unprocessed, plant-based foods and to stop drowning this wonderful food in oil. (A good first step would be to check out the Bookstore at the foot of this blog for Dr. Esselstyn's book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease).


Mrs. Esselstyn
Demonstrates
Following a healthful and delicious lunch, Mrs. Anne Esselstyn demonstrated the preparation of many more dishes that were similarly healthful and delicious.  Each would advance the Space Alien's personal health goals while satisfying the hedonist within.  (See the Bookstore at the foot of this blog for Mrs. Esselstyn's Prevent and Reverse Heat Disease Cookbook as well!).


Also, since the Space Alien loves to give parties and delight friends with healthful plant based food that is easy to prepare, Carol D'Anca's beautiful book Real Food for Healthy People is highly recommended and available at the Bookstore at the foot of this blog.

Photo by the Space Alien 
This one-day program with its wealth of information is presented monthly.  If you would like more information about this please click here.  

The Space Alien is particularly fond of the short video with Dr. Esselstyn embedded in this Medscape article.  To see it, click here. 


At the close of the program, the Space Alien was in a hurry to shop for the greens, beans and other recommended foods, but lingered just long enough to take this photograph of Your Editor, Dr. Esselstyn, Beth Damon and Mrs. Esselstyn. 

Unfortunately when Your Editor tried to photograph the Space Alien with Dr. and Mrs. Esselstyn, the Space Alien had left the building and was off to a supermarket to fill a cart with plenty of dark leafy greens and other delicious, fresh organic produce!



The Space Alien's Shopping Basket

More on this topic may be found at Your Editor's Whole Food Plant Based Nutrition blog: http://www.wfpbn.blogspot.com/.  The Space Alien will welcome your readership and so will your editor!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Visit to the Largest Wastewater Treatment Facility in the World

On August 23rd 2016, a group organized by Go Green Northbrook toured the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) of Greater Chicago Stickney Plant, the largest wastewater treatment plant in the world! MWRD collects the output of Chicagoland sinks and toilets, and returns it clean and sparkling to our waterways.
Partial View of Stickney Water Reclamation Plant
Since two of the Space Alien's principal concerns are adequate hydration and personal cleanliness, any opportunity to see how these needs are met on Earth is irresistible.   The Space Alien therefore hovered over this group of some twenty local environmentalists to observe the operations of this plant where experts in their fields explained how water reaching this massive facility is pumped to a height from which gravity can lower it through various filtering and cleansing mechanisms, not only preserving the fresh water, but removing solid matter to be treated for use as rich fertilizer for farming and gardening.

While there were many high points to this day, one that stood out for the Space Alien was the talk by microbiologist Toni Glymph, illustrated by slides from her microscope via a large screen TV.   The Space Alien was fascinated by many kinds of tiny creatures that happily thrive on substances that would not normally be part of a human diet.
 Microbiologist Toni Glymph Shows How 
Tiny Creatures Clean our Water by Eating Icky Stuff















The Space Alien Gazette regrets that space considerations prevent saying much more than that these feisty little bacteria, protozoans, and other microorganisms spend their days filling their tiny tummies with all sorts of things in the water that would not be good for humans, and then taking happy naps at the bottom of their pools.

Toni Glymph has published many papers and books on this topic.  Readers seeking basic information about the application of microbiology in this context may wish to see some of her slides at:  https://www.wwoa.org/files/publishedpapers/2013/Microbiology/Wastewater%20Microbiology.pdf.

The Space Alien snapped this photo of your hard-hatted Editor touring the large pumping facility.
Joan Levin photographed by the Space Alien
Unfortunately by the time your Editor had a camera prepared to photograph the Space Alien, the poor thing, having become terribly overstimulated by all the excitement, had jumped into a nearby aeration basin for a cooling underwater dip.  We hope this did not disturb the busy microorganisms doing their work below!

Space Alien Under Water in MWRD Aeration Basin 



Upon emerging, the fastidious Space Alien was dismayed to learn that the water in this basin had only completed an intermediate stage of cleansing and hurried off to wash up with some Scrub Daddy sponges (featured in an earlier posting and never far from the Space Alien's orbit).

The Space Alien has traveled far and seen much, and understands the importance of water, and is therefore puzzled as to why water so often goes unappreciated by the very beings most dependent upon it.  This is why the Space Alien appreciates every living being at the MWRD including the MWRD Commissioners, particularly Commissioner Frank Avila who hosted this trip, as well as the managers, scientists and other staff members who were our guides, and especially the busy bacteria and other microorganisms that spend their lives cleaning up after us so that we can have nice clean water to drink!
The Space Alien Cares!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Air Show Comes to Town

The Space Alien looks forward to Chicago's Air and Water Show each year, and 2016 is no exception.   As noted earlier on these pages, while the Space Alien routinely achieves tachyonic velocities exceeding the speed of light, the artistry of many of the Air Show participants appeals to the Space Alien's well-developed aesthetic sensibilities.

A perennial favorite is pilot Sean D. Tucker whose acrobatics often make the Space Alien's enormous jaw drop.  On Saturday, August 20 the Space Alien accompanied Mr. Tucker during his performance, initially circling his plane at a safe distance at speeds so high as to be invisible to spectators.

Extraordinary Pilot Sean Tucker
Then, during an intentional stall, Mr.Tucker invited the Space Alien into the cockpit and allowed the Space Alien to take the controls for a bit.  This was lots of fun for the Space Alien whose performance, while impressive and garnering well-deserved accolades from onlookers, was nowhere near as artistic as Mr. Tucker's maneuvers.  The Space Alien, resolves to practice (and even earn a pilot's license) and hopes that Mr. Tucker will share some pointers.

While seated inside the plane the Space Alien could not make a videotape of Mr. Tucker's unbelievable performance,  but to see this daring pilot's act at another venue click here.

Mr. Tucker also  graciously posed for lots of pictures. Sadly the Space Alien forgot to take a selfie with Mr. Tucker and so appears in none of them.  But to see these pictures click here.

Talented Pilot Susan Dacy
Space Alien also enjoyed watching pilot Susan Dacy in her Super Stearman airplane and joined her briefly in a graceful duet of aerial maneuvers behind clouds obscuring the Space Alien from the view of onlookers below.

Unfortunately the Space Alien experienced a rare bit of airsickness during this exercise during which time the videocam fell into Lake Michigan (thankfully not before earlier pictures were uploaded), so the video record of  this performance was lost, but to see Ms. Dacy's beautiful act elsewhere click here.

There were also many military planes in the air that day, but the Space Alien finds them frightening and stepped into a local bar for some root beer when they appeared.

Had the Space Alien, an expert videographer, not lost that video camera in the lake, those pictures would have been just as good as the ones linked above, or perhaps even better. The Space Alien regrets this loss.

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Editor's Note:  A busybody reader, wrote that pilot Sean D. Tucker should never have allowed the Space Alien, not a licensed pilot, to take the controls of his plane. This busybody reader said that this was just the same as if a Cook County Judge had invited a law clerk to wear a judicial robe and hear cases, as had been reported at the time in another newspaper.  The Space Alien argued (brilliantly, if mistakenly) that such a thing could never happen, and that besides, no one was hurt.  Your editor hopes that no litigation will result from this event but that if any does, that a real judge will hear the case.

Space Alien Joins Happy Chicagoans
Watching Air Show from Oak Street Beach

Monday, August 22, 2016: 


THIS JUST IN!


We are so pleased to announce that one of the thousands of loyal readers of the Space Alien Gazette who lives in a high-rise near the Air Show venue, having read this account, just sent this photo showing the Space Alien comfortably situated on a rental chaise at Chicago's famed Oak Street Beach enjoying portions of the Air Show.

All of us in the busy Space Alien Gazette newsroom are relieved, because having lost the video camera as noted above, there might otherwise have been no photographic record of the Space Alien's attendance at this exciting event


Thursday, August 18, 2016

An Evening Stroll among Healing Plants

The Space Alien, always interested in health and healing, was privileged to hover overhead as a remarkable teacher,  Rosita Arvigo, led an avid group of followers to knowledge of the healing properties of wild plants, a knowledge acquired in a lifetime of study and healing practice.
Rosita Arvigo

Ms. Arvigo generously shared her knowledge on an August evening walk through a natural sanctuary in the midst of a busy Chicago park.   

She pointed out at every hand plants that might be dismissed as mere weeds in their roles as  healers and even life-savers for many of the illnesses and accidents faced by humans over many generations.  

Remedies well-known to civilizations that strode this continent long before the arrival of Europeans were unfolded as Ms. Arvigo explained the uses of seeds, flowers, leaves, stems and roots that could be made into tinctures, teas, poultices and other applications.  In two hours her followers gained knowledge gathered over the millennia, some now applied in the manufacture of "modern" medicines.

How lucky we are that these plants still exist and that we have teachers like Ms. Arvigo to lead us among them!

The Space Alien had an unfortunate slip of a paring knife while snacking (probably illegally) on wild apples from a tree in this sanctuary,  and was therefore grateful that Ms. Arvigo explained how to chew the leaf of a common plantain to make a poultice that quickly stopped the bleeding and would prevent infection as well.  (Note: This is not the plantain that looks like a banana. This is a commonly used name for the plant with the Latin generic name "Plantago" To learn more,  click here.)
Plantain

The Space Alien learned so much, and wants to learn a lot more about this. This is knowledge that should be shared widely, and the Space Alien is glad that Ms. Arvigo is doing this through the internet, seminars and books.

Friends who would like to know more about Rosita Arvigo could visit her website: www.RositaArvigo.com

The Space Alien also thanks Ariane Glazer for organizing this outstanding event.  Friends may learn more about similar activities at https://www.meetup.com/RawChicagoCommunity/

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Flossing Wager


As is clear from this official portrait, the Space Alien is blessed with remarkable dentition, a tremendous and justifiable source of pride.

The Space Alien is meticulous about dental hygiene, visiting a dentist for routine checkups, brushing twice daily, and, to preserve strong healthy gums, flossing twice daily as well.

The Space Alien therefore experienced moments of extreme confusion over recent reports suggesting that because  there were no scientifically adequate studies supporting the need for flossing, that perhaps this was unnecessary.  


The Space Alien's friend, Blaise Pascal
However, the Space Alien, an avid student of science and philosophy, recalled what the great French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal said years ago as they enjoyed a coffee together in a 17th Century cafe in Paris and were having trouble deciding whether or not to order some eclairs as well.

"How do you make such a choice?" asked the Space Alien.  Pascal thought about this deeply for several moments. At last he suggested to the Space Alien that faced with a choice based on incomplete information, it was best to choose the safer choice rather than bet on something that could have adverse consequences.  

Pascal went on to apply this conclusion to loftier decisions than whether to enjoy a pastry, and this work, inspired by the above question from the Space Alien, has come to be known as Pascal's Wager.  Readers  wishing to learn more about this could  click here.


How to Floss Properly

Faced with a similar dilemma today, the Space Alien has decided to apply Pascal's advice and to continue the regular practice of flossing at least twice a day.  The Space Alien is heartened to see that the professional gum experts agree.  To see what they say click here and click here.



To order or not to order?
As for the eclairs, the Space Alien cannot recall what was finally  decided in that French cafe.  It was all so long ago.

Editor's notes:  

1.  The Space Alien sometimes needs reminders about attribution.  While (unnamed) people say that Space Alien frequently hobnobbed with Blaise Pascal (who certainly might have gotten some ideas from the eclair dilemma described above), the relationship between the flossing dilemma and Pascal's Wager first came to the Space Alien's attention in a Washington Post Op-Ed written by an orthodontist and reprinted in the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere. To read it, 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-evidence-for-flossings-benefits-is-not-good-enough-but-its-all-weve-got/2016/08/12/fbded8e6-5e6f-11e6-9d2f-b1a3564181a1_story.html
and for more on flossing:  
https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa16/2016/10/21/is-flossing-necessary-to-prevent-cavities/

2.  The Space Alien has observed the application of Pascal's Wager concerning belief in the existence of Deity in what has come to be known in the field of Public Health and elsewhere as the Precautionary Principle.  In this regard the Space Alien would direct loyal readers to discussions of this relationship such as http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Pascal's_Wager or  http://home.olemiss.edu/~namanson/Formulating%20the%20PP.pdf to name just a few.  

Based on these principles, and absent persuasive evidence to the contrary, the Space Alien fully intends to continue flossing, at least for the next several eons.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How High? Which Moon?


Thiago Braz da Silva Reaches New Heights 
Today the Space Alien simply gawked as Thiago Braz da Silva, the Brazilian pole vaulter, cleared 6.03 meters (20.67 feet) to win an Olympic gold medal for the pole vault.  Luckily the Space Alien had a cell phone at hand to record a video of this remarkable jump.  To see it, click here.


Space Alien's Entourage Lands on Titan


The Space Alien generally does not participate in track and field events, finding these sports uncomfortably hot and sweaty,  But while visiting Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, where temperatures linger at a chilly but bracing  -290° F., the Space Alien decided to give it a go and easily set a new personal record for the high jump.

The Space Alien regrets that the nature of the atmosphere on Titan, as well as the distance of that body from the Sun, diminished available light to the extent that the Space Alien's camera could not photograph this remarkable athletic feat, but urges readers wishing to set their own personal high jump records to use this helpful table to find other locations where this could be achieved.  To see this interactive table click here.

The Space Alien has heard that this superior performance had to do with Titan's lesser gravitational pull, in turn a function of Titan's smaller size.  But the Space Alien is sure that the marvelously stimulating nitrogen-rich atmosphere of Titan was to some degree responsible as well.  Would this be doping?  The Space Alien, who takes pride in staying in top condition, certainly hopes not!

Unfortunately the judges at the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil would not accept the Space Alien's record-breaking high-jump performance as it did not take place in the designated Olympic stadium.  The Space Alien was naturally saddened not to receive a coveted blue ribbon, but is still proud of this extraordinary performance.

This was not the Space Alien's first trip to Titan.  To see exclusive photos taken on earlier occasions from the Space Alien's very own photo album click here. The Space Alien understands that NASA took some nice pictures too!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Did Cupping Help Michael Phelps?

The Space Alien was intrigued to see pictures of Olympian Mega-Medalist Michael Phelps covered with what appeared to be giant sized hickeys.  "What a life!" thought the Space Alien.

But later the Space Alien was even more intrigued to learn that the symmetrical pink circles appearing all over the Super-Swimster's muscular body resulted from the practice of "cupping" - a long-revered folk remedy reputed to increase circulation and control pain.   To learn more, click here.

Centuries ago, in fly-bys across Central and Eastern Europe, the Space Alien observed this practice, involving the application of tiny glass cups called "bankes" which had been heated to create the necessary vacuum.   This was thought to remove evil "humours" or other causes of illness.  To learn more, click here.

But even this revered nostrum had it's limits.   When a bad situation seemed irreparable, and any remedy seemed futile, people might say:

.עס וועט העלפֿן ווי אַ טויטן באַנקעס.

Es vet helfn vi a toytn bankes, or: it would help as much as cupping would help a dead person.

Michael Phelps Displays Adorable Face and Cupping Marks

The Space Alien tries to maintain composure even in the most difficult circumstances, but understands the feelings of futility for any human trying to out-swim Michael Phelps in his best events.

For those wishful contenders, the above saying might apply. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Greenland Shark Makes Literary History!

The Space Alien, ever appreciative of fine literature, was intrigued to learn that a recently found Greenland Shark may have been alive in William Shakespeare's day, 400 years ago.  (To learn more, click here. )

This exciting discovery raises the possibility that the name of the youth association, The Sharks, featured in Leonard Bernstein's hit Broadway musical West Side Story, a show based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, may signal a connection between Shakespeare and a Greenland Shark.

William Shakespeare thinking about
 a Greenland Shark


Following painstaking literary research the Space Alien concludes that such a relationship existed based on the following incontrovertible facts: a) the elderly Greenland Shark is blind, as was King Lear, and b) the Greenland Shark has a well-developed sense of smell, as did Marcellus, who observed in Hamlet that "Something is rotten in Denmark."

Greenland Shark thinking about 
William Shakespeare


From this and other evidence, the Space Alien can only conclude that William Shakespeare had a fine-tuned understanding of the Greenland Shark
that could only be derived from close association.  However, rumors that the "Dark Lady of the Sonnets" was a Greenland Shark  are probably unfounded.



Epilogue 1: 

Shortly after the above story went to press, one of the legions of loyal readers of the SAG informed the Space Alien about a young Illinois man who recently had a horrific encounter with a shark while swimming in the Bahamas.   This was almost certainly not an elderly Greenland Shark. To read more click here.

The Space Alien joins the entire staff of the Space Alien Gazette in wishing this young man a speedy and complete recovery.

Epilogue 2: 

In response to this posting, one of the Space Alien's thousands of loyal readers sent this picture of himself about to enter the jaws of a shark.  The Space Alien urges all readers to exercise extreme caution.  Do not assume that every shark you meet will back off when you tell them, quoting Comedy of Errors, that "unquiet meals make ill digestions."



Epilogue 3: 

Your extremely busy Editor will not waste her valuable time elaborating on the origin of the term "Jumping the Shark."  Interested Loyal Readers may Google this on their own time.

 Epilogue 4: 

November 28, 2016.  The Greenland Shark was revisited on National Public Radio today.  Listen here.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

Perseid Meteor Shower Brings Memories of Old Friendships.

The Perseid Meteor Shower (or Outburst as it is sometimes known) occurs tonight as it does each year at this time, but tonight's display is predicted to be  especially brilliant. To learn more, click here.  It will last a few more days, but unfortunately the Space Alien has business in Chicago this week, where haze and light pollution diminish visibility.

The Perseid Meteor Shower


Perseus and the 
Gorgon Medusa

The Perseid Shower may be found by Earthly viewers in the constellation Perseus (see picture below), named for the heroic son of the Greek God, Zeus.  Perseus grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family (about which perhaps more some other time). His main claim to fame was finishing off the Gorgon Medusa.

The Gorgon Medusa was an ill-tempered female creature whose perpetual bad hair days may have been at the root of her unpleasant nature and general lack of good  sportsmanship.

The entire story of Perseus' life is far too violent for these pages, but curious readers wishing to know more (but not at bedtime as the Space Alien cannot be held responsible for resulting nightmares) may click here.



Perseus and Andromeda

Suffice it to say that Perseus was a nice enough fellow who seemed unable to avoid difficult, dangerous and even compromising situations.

His life was brightened by his lovely, if somewhat nebulous, girlfriend and wife, Andromeda.


The Space Alien always liked hanging out with Perseus and Andromeda.  Those were happy days!


Now Perseus and Andromeda are together where you can visit them in the Summer Sky at night!  The Space Alien is happy for them.

As for the Perseid Meteor Shower, this is composed of debris from comets, mostly particles of dust and rock.  To learn more, click here.  The Space Alien misplaced some keys recently.  Perhaps they'll turn up in some of that debris.  It's worth a look.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Space Alien Comments on the Olympic Games

The Space Alien -- while saddened by the harm the Olympic Games cause most of their host cities, and especially the people who are displaced and financially encumbered on this account --  nevertheless admires the dedication and athletic feats of many of the competitors.

That said, the Space Alien is not much impressed by the swimmers or track competitors.  Since the Space Alien routinely traverses land, water, air and space at tachyonic velocities exceeding the speed of light, the records set by these champions are a bit of a ho-hum (although one in particular has a face that the Space Alien finds adorable).
An Adorable Face
On the other hand, the Space Alien truly marvels at the courage and skill of the miniature female human beings who throw their bodies into the air with seeming abandon, landing on tiny feet without so much as a hop to regain their balance!

The Space Alien knows that these brave athletes could seriously hurt themselves while performing these feats within the Earth's powerful gravitational field, yet they routinely slip those surly bonds, if only for moments, seemingly to dance the skies under their own power, catapulting themselves in waves of ever-greater altitude and amplitude, and emerging with smiling faces that brighten our day!

Extreme Anti-Gravitational Manuver

Bevy of Skilled Gravity Defiers

P.S. Readers should know that the Space Alien loves poetry and was definitely influenced by Sky God by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.  to learn more: click here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Walgreen's to Offer Disposal Kiosks for Unneeded Medication

The Space Alien was pleased to learn today that Walgreen's drugstores will now offer special kiosks for safe disposal for unneeded medication.

Thoughtful Environmentalist Does Her Part

This is a badly needed service because too many people flush unneeded drugs into the sewer system from which they are not removed by standard public water reclamation and purification facilities.

To see where the first Walgreen's Chicago Area kiosks are placed, click here.

The Space Alien, while meticulous about dental hygiene (as readers will readily discern from the lovely smile on the masthead portrait), had a toothache last year and was prescribed a painkilling drug.  This drug was never consumed and so the Space Alien has carried it across trillions of miles of  space to avoid polluting an already threatened environment.

Walgreen's gesture is therefore greatly appreciated.  The Space Alien has no idea where to find the "Corner of Happy and Healthy,"  but certainly knows, although the latter trademark expired in 2009    (click here), that "You're always welcome at Walgreens!"

The Space Alien is concerned about a large urban population suddenly deprived of tap-derived Prozac but trusts people will deal kindly with each other during the transition.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Black Holes: An Existential Hazard for the Space Alien

The Space Alien understands that space can be dangerous, and one of the most dangerous places in space is a black hole.  When traveling in deep space, the Space Alien reads deeply and thinks deeply about many things, including the research done on black holes by the distinguished astrophysicist, Professor John Preskill of the California Institute of Technology, and his colleagues. (To learn more about this click here.)

The Space Alien takes care to avoid black holes, but nevertheless, in a moment of inattention several eons ago, nearly tumbled into one of these bottomless pits of annihilation.  So traumatic was this incident that in addition to bentshing goyml (q.v.), thousands of hours of therapy were required to restore the Space Alien's sense of physical safety and personal agency.  Since then, the Space Alien has directed much energy towards keeping space safe.

A Scary Black Hole

The Space Alien understands that Dr. Preskill and his colleagues are primarily theoreticians, but nevertheless hopes they might direct some of their brilliance towards shedding light on practical applications of their theoretical work such as fabricating safety nets and rope ladders from cosmic strings (q.v.) to prevent accidental falls into black holes and to facilitate escape should such falls occur.  This would surely benefit space voyagers everywhere!

 Cosmic Strings 
The Space Alien Cares!