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UFO – Ain’t No 12th Man On No Mother Ship Or Nothin

How could anyone resist a quick drive over to Stephenville and Dublin in Texas’ Erath County, after a dozen of the good townsfolk reported close encounters of the weird kind – unidentified flying something-or-others in the Lonestar sky? Not me.

I hopped in my trendy, yet stealthy crossover and plotted a course west. Question one: why were all the news stories datelined “Stephenville,” yet the big investigative press event was hosted in nearby Dublin? That’s an easy one. Dublin has the Dr. Pepper museum and DPs made with real cane sugar – and perhaps the more visionary chamber of commerce willing to seize the opportunity.

So, Stephenville, previously heralded as (one of) the capitol(s) of Texas rodeo, now may be known for UFO wrangling. But, it was Dublin that stepped up to the plate … er saucer … and took the little green men by the horns. They hosted various newspaper, TV and radio reporters who descended upon Dublin for a press briefing. Inside headquarters, eye witnesses were spilling out their spiels to MUFON* researchers, to reporters, or to just anyone who would listen to their far out stories (present company included).

Great fun. Actually some were having more fun around town than others. There were the male, gray-haired “ponytails” milling around all-to-seriously with their reporter pads poised to prove we are not alone, and there were the serious muckraking journalists hoping to foil this charade. But the real standouts were the pranksters … the whacky space cadets … just happy to see another dress-up holiday added to the calendar post October.

Best-of-show would have to go the one dog lover who walked her pups through the throng, with the poochies wearing anti-lick, anti-gravity collars, wrapped in foil. The collars were functional … er rather, preventive … and certainly made a sci-fashion statement as well.

Speaking of statements, two guys who appeared to be father-and-son jokesters, stood in front of the press room door, sporting foil-wrapped helmets and homemade signs touting two generations of interstellar missives: “ET Yo Mama’s Callin,” and the older Mork reference, “Nanu, Nanu.” Ah yes, TV and film extraterrestrials, all in one family. Love it.

But wait. In addition to the ET sign, one of the father/son team was also sporting a maroon(ed) and white Texas A&M sweatshirt. Well … I didn’t think that was significant either — until the boy was chastised by one of the Dublin Rotarians. Seriously. I was snapping a photo of the young man and his ET sign when a fellow Aggie came over and asked him to remove his A&M sweatshirt. (“Whoop!”) She didn’t want him to disgrace the university. What!?! That’s crazy talk! She claimed his tongue-in-cheek opinions of the entire affair were going to make A&M look bad. Makes perfect sense to me. The combination of Aggie merchandise and a hastily made sign are going to scare away the aliens, the media coverage and the potential new revenue for the town. (I guess … ) I am still scratching my head over that one … The illogic gave me a real Vulcan mind gig … I mean the kid was just having fun. It is not like the young Aggie was claiming to have perfected cold fusion or something … wait … (Explanation: I am making fun of the Aggies because, in what would have been a quantum leap in science, their researchers misrepresented to the scientific community that they had in fact successfully achieved cold fusion in the lab. So I surmise that Aggies are still a little touchy when it comes to futuristic thangs.) I digress …

Well … whatever … Beyond the Aggie space gigging, I salute the Stephenvilleans, the Dubliners and all the other Erathlings for all the fun stuff around Erath County … or should that be EARTH County? Earth, Erath … whatever.

All around Erath County, there were numerous modifications of and variations on the foil helmet theme, but none better than the silver crown atop the milk cow statue adjacent to the county courthouse in Stephenville. It gives new meaning to the Milky Way …

The best alien utility award would go to the phone company bucket truck parked between the two towns, with the “cherry picker” hoisted up to the phone line and an alien dummy lineman working away. There were kids on the streets, dressed as martians, urging passersby to check out the local flea market. And of course there were stores and tailgate entrepreneurs hawking UFOTS – unidentified flying objectionable t-shirts.

And although my mission to boldly seek out the UFO media circus was complete, there was one disappointment … I didn’t hear any convincing firsthand accounts. And the one video I saw, playing on one witness’s laptop, had nothing but a blank screen showing for the 10 minutes I stood huddled around her with several reporters. “Aha! The UFOs have cloaking ability!”

(NOTE after blog was written:  I just saw the lady and her video on CNN …)

* Oh, almost forgot … MUFON is the Mutual UFO Network, the group probably best positioned to milk the 15 minutes of fame, as it promised the actual research would stretch on for months. NOTE: the MUFON brochure is adorned with the mug of SNL legend Dan Aykroyd. I thought he was a ghostbuster, not a spockchaser.) See: <a href=”http://www.mufon.com/”>www.mufon.com</a>

So, all-in-all my quest for extraterrestrials or just intelligent life in general was fruitless. I somehow resisted the urge to mockingly yell “Wait, wait, don’t leave me here,” as I stared into the sky, in the middle of the crowd. And the best news? No one was abducted or probed or none of that sort of thing as far as I could tell.

Engage.