Friday, November 25, 2016

The Space Alien Studies the News

Your editor arrived at the insanely busy newsroom of the Space Alien Gazette and found the Space Alien sitting at a desk reading a newspaper.

"What are you reading?" asked your editor.

"The Chicago Tribune," answered the Space Alien. "I want to know what our competition is doing!"

"Good idea," said your editor.  "Let me have a look!"


The Space Alien moved aside so your editor could see the newspaper.



"Oh my goodness," said your editor "this newspaper is over 70 years old and this headline isn't even true!"

"I'm aghast!" said the Space Alien.  "How could this be? It was in the newspaper!"

"A newspaper isn't always the most reliable source" answered your editor.  "That particular headline was just a big mistake, but you can't believe everything you read in the newspapers."

"NO!" cried the incredulous Space Alien.  "Are you saying I should wait to hear it on the radio or see it on television?"

"Well, radio and TV are not always reliable either!"

The Space Alien looked stunned.

"How about the internet?  I'm sure people don't make things up on the internet!"

"That's even worse," said your editor.  "There are lots of made-up things there!"

"Even on Facebook and Twitter?" asked the Space Alien.

"Even there, people sometimes write things that are not true," answered your editor, as the Space Alien groaned.
The Space Alien was Crestfallen

The Space Alien was silent for several moments, thinking deeply, and then broke out in a huge grin.

"I get it!  I bet you can believe something if PEOPLE SAY SO!"

"NO!" cried your editor.  "'PEOPLE SAY' may be the LEAST RELIABLE of all!"

The Space Alien, who had always dreamed of being a reporter or even an editor of the Space Alien Gazette, was crestfallen.

"How can I contribute to the Space Alien Gazette if I don't know what's real and what's not?"

Your editor thought about this deeply before she spoke.

"I'll give you some links to help you tell the difference between real news and fake news."

"Here's a CNN article with some questions to ask of every suspect story, especially in Facebook."
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/18/tech/how-to-spot-fake-misleading-news-trnd/

"And here's a list of fact-checking websites"
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/true-5-factchecking-websites/ (starting with http://www.snopes.com,  one of your editor's faves).

"So why don't we just get rid of all of that fake news?" asked the Space Alien.

"It's not always so easy," answered your editor.  "Here's an article about that!"
http://fortune.com/2016/11/17/fake-news-problem/

"I'll study these," said the Space Alien "because I want the Space Alien Gazette to be the very best!"

"You are the heart and soul of the Space Alien Gazette" answered your editor.  "With your inspiration we will keep right on getting out the very best news to our loyal readers!"

"Oh, I like that," said the Space Alien.  "But just for today can I drive one of the delivery trucks?"

"Sure you can!"

"Can I drive a shiny red one?"

"Certainly," answered your editor with a big smile.  "Go take your pick from the fleet!"


Space Alien Gazette Delivery Trucks

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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Space Alien Observes Thanksgiving

The Space Alien, deep in contemplation about the real meaning of Thanksgiving, became aware of a feathery rustle in the yard.  Rushing into the chilly November air to see what was happening, the Space Alien found Tom Turkey taking a stroll.

Friendly as always, the Space Alien whooshed over for a chat with this colorful visitor.  

But as the Space Alien approached, Tom Turkey, made a dash for it!

The Space Alien called out "What's your hurry, Tom Turkey?  I was just thinking about the real meaning of Thanksgiving!  What are you thankful for?"

"I'm thankful to be alive and want to stay that way!" cried Tom Turkey, picking up speed.




Tom Turkey kept running but the Space Alien called after him!


"Hey, Tom Turkey -- you know I wouldn't ruffle your beautiful feathers!  And who would eat a turkey anyway?"

"You'd be surprised!" answered Tom Turkey.

But then he stopped!  Sensing that he was safe, he ran back to the Space Alien.






The ever-sociable Space Alien greeted Tom Turkey with an invitation:

"Say, Tom Turkey, why don't you come to my Thanksgiving dinner?  Everyone will be there and it will be lots of fun!"

"What are you having for dinner?" asked the doubtful bird.

"I'm fixing a YUMMY dinner" said the Space Alien "and it's all plant based!"

"How did you learn to cook?" asked Tom Turkey.

"Carol D'Anca taught me how!  She's my editor's friend, a real honest-to-goodness nutritionist, with lots of great plant-based holiday recipes!"

"Can I see them?" asked Tom Turkey.

"Sure! They are at https://www.foodnotmeds.com (where you may even get a "pop up" to receive a free pdf copy), or else at https://www.foodnotmeds.com/recipe/

Tom Turkey looked dubious.  "These recipes -- are they healthful?"

"Certainly," answered the Space Alien.  "I always take good care of my kind and caring heart."

"And there aren't any birds in them?" asked Tom Turkey.

"Of course not!  They are all plant based, unprocessed whole food and oil free!"

Tom Turkey whipped out a smart phone, looked over the holiday recipes, and offered to bring one of the desserts to the Space Alien's Thanksgiving dinner, an offer the Space Alien accepted with thanks.
The Space Alien and your editor wish all the loyal readers of the Space Alien Gazette a lovely Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Space Alien Travels to the Inferno and Back

Following the November 8 election the Space Alien, always sympathetic to dear human friends, shared in your Editor's despondency.  Feeling inadequate as a comforter, the Space Alien took off for deep space, and the Space Alien Gazette temporarily suspended publication.

Deep space now felt more chilly than usual, and having recently re-read the complete works of Dante Alighieri, the Space Alien headed for the fiery Inferno this poet had so carefully mapped.
Map of the Inferno by Dante Aigheiri

Upon arrival, the Space Alien was astonished to find the Inferno completely frozen over.  Fortunately, the Space Alien had brought along figure skates, and spent a few solitary days sadly perfecting Lutzes, Salchows and Axels, undisturbed by other skaters each apparently in his or her own depressed state.  

Exclusive Space Alien Photograph of Frozen Inferno

Eventually duty called, and the Space Alien, never a shirker,  returned to the once busy but now paralyzed offices of the Space Alien Gazette, where your Editor sat, a glazed look on her face and a safety pin on her shirt.

"What's that safety pin for?" asked the Space Alien.
Your Editor looked up from her computer: "Have a look at PBS, right here," she answered.  "It means that you are safe with me, and that I am your ally"

"Well duh, I already knew that" said the Space Alien -- "I just thought you hadn't sewn back that missing button!"

The Space Alien and your Editor sat quietly for a while.  
Then the Space Alien broke the silence:  "I guess we'd better get back to work!"
"Yes," said your Editor, "I guess we'd better."

Even when The Inferno freezes over,
the Space Alien keeps on working
because the Space Alien cares!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

In the Wake of the World Series, 2016

Exclusive Space Alien Photo
We thought our loyal readers who do not live in the Chicago area would enjoy this news of the aftermath of the Chicago Cubs historic World Series victory on Wednesday, November 2, 2016. 

The Space Alien took this photo of the Cubs entourage traveling from Wrigley Field to Grant Park along Lake Shore Drive, and immediately teleported it to your editor.  It was a beautiful day and everyone was eager to see the Cubs en route to the big rally!

The Space Alien was there to frolic amongst the happy Chicagoans who had taken leave of work and school (Chicago Public Schools had a previously scheduled closure that day) to participate.

A reported five million revelers gathered in Grant Park.  Some reports said this number, over twice the population of Chicago, was inflated.  But whatever the actual count, the crowd was one of the largest in recent Chicago history.    Public transit use was at the max (click here)  That Chicago was well prepared (for more on this click here) was reflected in the few untoward incidents.  Get a bigger picture and many great bits of memory-stuff from the Chicago Tribune here.

Of course the Space Alien was there and can be found in the picture below.
Space Alien joins World Series revelers in Grant Park
A Quartet of Champions!
The Space Alien joined happy Chicagoans as they sang Go Clubs Go, along with this talented quartet: Dexter Fowler (who opened game 7 with a home run), First Baseman, Anthony Rizzo, Pitcher Jon Lester and David Ross who at age 39 became the oldest player to hit a home run in the 7th Game of a World Series Game.  (To see the NBC correction about this click here.  For a great New York Times story about David Ross, click here.)

To see and hear this song with country singer Brett Eldridge leading, click here.
To check out the crowd singing along with the Space Alien, click here.

And the following day Cubs Fowler, Rizzo and Ross appeared on Saturday Night Live along with Bill Murray to sing Go Cubs Go, captured here.

The revelers in Grant Park were not the only ones singing Go Cubs Go!  The entire cast of the Chicago production of HAMILTON did so too! Here are some links to see and hear them!
TMZ: click here.
Washington Post: click here.
One of many You Tube videos: click here.


The Chicago Symphony Orchestra joined in with their rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" --  click here.   (Editor's Note: The Space Alien is a feminist and asked your editor to let readers know they could learn about the feminist history of "Take me out to the Ballgame" if they would click here,  and for more general information about this song  click here.)

The Space Alien watches out for fan safety!
For the ENTIRE exciting celebration on Friday, November 4 at Grant Park, here's a list of You Tube videos that recorded the whole shebang!  To see this list and find your faves, click here.

The Space Alien had taped hours of this event with a mini-videocam. Unfortunately this tiny device -- dropped when the Space Alien helped to catch a pole climber at Grant Park -- was presumably trampled to dust by the crowd.  The Space Alien appreciates that many other photographers were there to make up for this heartbreaking loss.

A Well-Deserved Rest
At the end of a perfect day, the Space Alien left Cubby Bear taking a well-deserved rest.  Cubby Bear, encouraged by the Space Alien, had done his job, cheering and leading cheers, to the very best of his ability, and he had done so cheerfully.  (If you have not read the post about this, click here).  He could now rest in the happy satisfaction of a job well done!

For a short video of great ball playing, including that all-important 10th inning of the 7th game, click here.  Cubby Bear was at his best, as you can hear from the cheering of the crowd!  And of course the Space Alien was there in the stands as well that night, both awesome eyes fixed on the ball and the players!


These scenes will live in the Space Alien's exceedingly long and detailed memory.

The Space Alien gave the sleeping Cubby Bear a fond pat on a furry cheek, and then, grabbing a baseball in hopes of a catch, and traveling at tachyonic speeds exceeding the speed of light, headed off into deep space.

Wanna Catch?

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Notes and Corrections: 

1. A typesetter here at the insanely busy headquarters of the Space Alien Gazette omitted a link to the article about the feminist aspect of the song Take Me Out to the Ballgame, from the days when ladies did not normally attend baseball games.  This has been corrected above and here is that link again for your convenience: click here, to see it.

2. A loyal reader points out that the posted performance of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Riccardo Muti performing Take Me Out to the Ballgame was not performed during this World Series, but was actually recorded some time ago.  The Space Alien reminds loyal readers that in deep space, time and space may be distorted, so such errors are to be expected from time to time.

3. A better video of the Saturday Night Live presentation of Go Cubs Go went online after the first edition of this post went to subscribers and was substituted in this post, above, and here.   

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Cubs are World Champions! (With Some Help from Cubby Bear and the Space Alien)

Game Seven of a hard fought World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians found the Space Alien in Cleveland.  It was an exciting game and the Space Alien gave a special cheer as 39 year old* Catcher David Ross, now playing his last game before retirement, became the oldest batter to hit a home run in a World Series game.

 "Let's hear it for the Oldies!" cheered the Space Alien with uncommon gusto having worked through the disappointment of being unable to replace this retiring athlete as a Cubs catcher (q.v.).
David Ross Runs the Bases
But while the Cubs played brilliantly, by the 8th inning they had ceded an early lead to the Indians, worrying even the most optimistic fans.  

At the top of the 9th Inning the Space Alien sensed the presence of a furry friend nearby.  And there, extending a trembling paw, stood Cubbie Bear, nearly in tears!

"What's wrong, Cubby Bear?  Aren't you happy that the Chicago Cubs are in the World Series for the first time since 1945 with a chance of becoming World Champions for the first time since 1908?"

"Yes," whimpered Cubby Bear "but the score is tied now and I'm worried!"

"But you must cheer!" said the Space Alien.  "Cheering is your special responsibility!  The Cubs cannot win if you do not cheer!"

"I  know," cried Cubby Bear "but I'm so exhausted from worrying!  How can I cheer if I'm not cheerful myself?"
The Space Alien let Cubby Bear whimper his deepest concerns, and then spoke softly: "Cubby Bear, you have helped  your team in countless ways!   Now you must cheer for your team and know that whatever happens you have done your best!"


Cubby bear did so, leading the fans in exuberant cheering!  Their cheers  were so loud -- and so cheerful -- that the Cubs did better than their best! In fact, cheered by Cubby Bear and the fans, the Cubs WON with a great big W!!!     

Yes, the Cubs won the World Series, becoming the champions of the world and, as far as the Space Alien knew, the entire universe as well!  Encouraged by the Space Alien, the energetically cheering Cubby Bear had helped bring about that victory!




The Space Alien murmured "My work here is done; indeed, this year IS "Next Year" at last!  It was longer than the wait for Haley's Comet (Q.V.), but the Curse of the Billy Goat was lifted (q.v.), and Cubby Bear will always keep cheering!"    Then, with a brief backward glance at Wrigley Field, the Space Alien grabbed a  baseball and headed off into deep space! 
How About a Catch?
Traveling through space, the Space Alien will be singing "Go Cubs Go!"
You can join in song if you  click here!
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*To read the inspiring story of the Space Alien's disappointment and recovery in connection with the retirement of David Ross, please click here.  
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EXTRA -- this just in!  11/3/16.  En route to deep space, the Space Alien did a fly-by over Wrigley Field in Chicago where fans gathered last night to celebrate the Cubs victory in Cleveland.  A Space Alien Gazette photographer took this photo of the Space Alien in the midst of this crowd of joyous Chicagoans.    
The Space Alien joins thousands of Chicagoans celebrating the Cubs victory!