Great mental image: James Renner's "Strangers in the Night" [March 31] was sufficiently provocative to snag and hold a skeptic's undivided attention. Indeed, despite the lapse of a quarter-century, the thought of Portage County cops chasing a flying saucer into Pennsylvania seems to overflow with canard, glamour, and extravaganza.
As with quaint legends of medieval knights, one is reluctant to dismiss the 1966 account as unadulterated cock-and-bull. A sensitive reader could sense the exasperation of a trained observer being told that it had been an atmospherically distorted image of the planet Venus he had raced after for so many miles.
Ah, but then the human eye is so easily hoodwinked. As when a pencil in a glass of water appears to be quite broken.
Seeing is believing: In response to "Strangers in the Night": Having grown up in Northeast Ohio, I have seen many UFOs, but not being a credible witness at 10 to 15 years old, I never talked about them outside of our group of kids. One incident I remember was around 1950 or '52. A cigar-shaped object that glowed bright red -- and was seen by over 200 people -- flew over our elementary school. But hey, it could have been Venus!
From debunker to convert: James Renner's "Strangers in the Night" was a nice, objective article. Dr. Hynek started his career as a debunker and died believing in the phenomena. He was the first person to use the term "swamp gas" to explain away UFOs, but had a change of heart and mind after reviewing the insurmountable evidence.
Glen Rock, PA
They're he-e-e-re: Major kudos to Scene and James Renner. The subject is of the highest import to humankind: the possibility that we are not alone in the universe -- yet no major news organizations would ever touch the subject with a 10-foot pole!
I can assure you that alien races -- and yes, there are at least a half dozen species observing us -- do have an interest in us. Specifically, they are highly interested/concerned about our nuclear technology. Cases in point: the huge UFO that hovered over Lake Erie near the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in 1988 and subsequently submerged, a red UFO that hovered over Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, and the repeated UFO visits to the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in the Hudson Valley in the '80s.
You must believe me, I am not a kook. My interest in UFOs is casual, but the evidence inundates me: testimony from friends and relatives in the military, police, and Coast Guard; reports I've read in the mainstream publications; and strongly compelling cases such as Renner's story. I have never seen a UFO, but I know they are here!
That's Mom you're talking about: I am writing in response to "Can you hear me now?" in the March 31 First Punch column. I am grateful for the positive response that we received, but am appalled at the author's ignorance in labeling Cleveland's homeless as "bums."
This is 2004; I'd think anybody at Scene would be educated enough to write an article that doesn't stereotype people with such offensive labels. The people we see shaking a cup on Euclid Avenue are the visible homeless, representing a small fraction of the population. The fastest-growing population is moms who have a child, struggle with housing, and work every day, but cannot keep up with medical bills and the high cost of housing.
I hope nobody on your staff ever ends up in a situation that forces them into homelessness, but if they do, I'd be happy to provide them with voice mail, so that they can transition back into society. Being homeless is not a vacation, nor is it fun. Living on the edge means focusing on survival, not phone sex, bookies, or psychic advice.
Community Voice Mail
One tata did all that: I read D.X. Ferris's story about the Pink Floyd "bullshit" problem [with censoring by WNCX-FM], and I'm increasingly worried about an elected official acting as my parent [Around Hear, March 24]. I want to slap Janet Jackson for turning us into a nation of sheep. And people said Frank Zappa was paranoid in the late '80s and early '90s (listen to his "Central Scrutinizer" on Joe's Garage).
More Speech Police
Big Sister is watching you: I just read Kathy Vallo's negative comments about the March 17 "Derf" cartoon, which criticized something about the state of Ohio. I did not see the cartoon, but that doesn't matter. What floored me was her characterization of Derf's cartoon as "insubordination."
To whom does she feel "Derf" and others should feel subordinate? State officials? Other public servants? As scary as it is to know that we have shortsighted hacks in elected office throughout the state, it is far scarier to think that there are citizens like Ms. Vallo, who feel it is inappropriate to criticize public officials no matter how self-serving, arrogant, or Neanderthal-like their behavior may be.
If she is worried about alienating or insulting state officials, perhaps she should consider a new career as a subservient cartoonist, who will draw flattering images of public officials under the pseudonym "Serf."
Keep on afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.