Category Archives: strange events

Really, if the Jackalope Isn’t Real…

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As long as we’re talking alternate reality, I simply must put in a word for the jackalope.

Skeptics say the jackalope’s not real–but pictures don’t lie! Jackalopes proliferate–am I allowed to use that word? it looks a lot like “pro-life”–during periods of Global Warming and Hate Speech, thriving on Income Inequality, Nationalism, and Transphobia. This is settled science, so everybody just shut up about it.

I think I might have seen one at our supermarket this morning, just as it ducked out of sight near the Easter candy display. Then again, it might have just been a store employee tidying the shelves.

‘Alternate Reality Gaming’–in Spades

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As you read this, remind yourself that our country boasts the biggest, costliest public education system ever devised by human beings.

Here is some of what we get for it.

A dot on a map of New Jersey called “Ong’s Hat,” in the heart of the Pine Barrens, has fascinated people for years. What kind of town would have a name like that? Patty and I went there once, just to see it for ourselves. But there was nothing to see: just a lot of trees and a little-traveled road.

And then one Joseph Matheny in the 1990s invented an Internet game called “Ong’s Hat,” billed as “the secret to interdimensional travel.” And it took off.

“Alternate reality gaming” fans flocked to Ong’s Hat–which, remember, is nothing in particular–looking for a secret laboratory where rogue scientists discovered a way to visit parallel universes: not to mention the parallel universe now inhabited by some of these gamers. The most popular local legend had it that the place got its name from a man named Mr. Ong who, exasperated by a fight with his girlfriend, threw his hat into the air and lost it when it got caught in a tree. But now it was seen to be the nexus of a lot of far-out, conspiratorial goings-on. Gamers even went to Matheny’s house in California to peer through his windows, trying to spy out clues to the secret.

Finally, having decided that enough was enough already, Matheny discontinued the game in 2001. But a lot of people didn’t believe him when he said it was only a game that he’d made up. Sort of like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle refusing to believe Houdini’s admission that he had no genuine magical powers. “Yeah, right!” said Doyle.

Just this morning my editor, Susan, and I were talking about people who can’t seem to understand that science fiction isn’t real; and then Patty read me this article about the Ong’s Hat game which, for some, mutated into a full-blown delusion.

There is no interdimensional travel. There are no starships capable of faster-than-light “warp speed.” No time travel, no evidence that anything like a parallel universe exists, no Slender Man–and there was no secret science project headquartered in the nowhere that is Ong’s Hat.

And they say we’re credulous for believing the Bible.

Maybe we should’ve spent more time in college.

Beware the Valley of Fatigue

[Disclaimer: I loved Welch’s Grape Juice as a boy and I still drink it today: grapes grown here in America by local farmers.]

Here my memory has played a trick on me. I could’ve sworn the “valley of fatigue” commercials were for Geritol, but it turns out they were for Welch’s Grape Juice. I do remember us kids warning each other about the perils of the Valley of Fatigue.

The commercial is from 1960, and Welch’s is still going strong.

Speaking of fatigue, this morning it’s 20 degrees outside, which strikes me as cold. But I saw a man coming out of the supermarket wearing short shorts and flip-flops–no socks, no shoes, no cover for bare legs and bare feet. Am I turning into one of those old men who can never get warm, or was this guy some kind of nut?

Nope, Nothing Wrong with Our Culture

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In contemplating this nooze report, please bear in mind that it’s as cold as a brass monkey just now, and has been for some days.

Residents in Manassas, Virginia, called police the other day when they saw a naked man “walking around the neighborhood” ( No, Mr. Rogers, it was not a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Before he could be carted off, the naked man bit his dog twice, shoved a woman to the ground, and bit an off-duty FBI agent.

He’s being held without bail. That’s probably a good idea.

Uh, wasn’t it kind of, well, cold to be strolling around in the altogether? The nooze reports say the kook was high on marijuana. Well, I’ve known a lot of pot-heads and none of them ever succumbed to the urge to shed their threads and take a promenade in the icy winter weather. Nor did I ever see them bite anybody, dog or human. I wonder what he would’ve done if he’d encountered a porcupine.

We are seeing more and more of this kind of behavior. Why? Could the fact that we “celebrate” all kinds of lunacy, and put extreme weirdos up on pedestals, have anything to do with it? Like, all right, call me a stick-in-the-mud, but this guy seems to be more than a few fries short of a happy meal.

We are waiting for the Democrat Party to spring him from jail and have him run for something.

‘Do Deer Read Road Signs?’ (2016)

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But can she type?

Remember this one? Lady calls up the radio talk show, upset because she thinks “Deer Crossing” road signs are misleading the deer…

Her whole argument was premised on her belief that deer were reading the signs and coming to a wrong conclusion.

The United States of America spends more money on “education” than any civilization in world history, has “educated” more people than any country ever, and has achieved an adult literacy rate that is the envy of… well, nobody.

But our deer our pretty smart!

Jackalope Population Explosion!

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This candid photo of a mother jackalope fiercely defending her young was taken by an amateur washing machine repairman in Ongs Hat, New Jersey. He had a narrow escape.

We are getting jackalope reports from all over the country now, a strong indication that the jackalope population has increased dramatically. Scientists believe it’s because of Climate Change and transphobia. What the jackalopes themselves believe is a secret.

They look cute and cuddly, but don’t get too close! A pack of hungry jackalopes can skeletonize a grown man in less than 60 seconds. I have always wanted to use the word “skeletonize” in a sentence, and now I’ve done so.

How I Got Un-Censored

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Well, now my post, “Boiling-Over Hypocrisy,” has been successfully published on Facebook. You are probably wondering how I managed that.

I hypothesized that maybe the problem was not what I said in the post, but the photo I used to illustrate it. As an experiment, I replaced that splendidly applicable illustration with a picture of a happy puppy. And voila–now suitable for Facebook!

Here are some more happy puppies, to keep me from getting censored again today. Pictures of celery stalks are also a safe bet, probably.

I conclude that Facebook, or its robot, censored the photo, not the text. See no evil, as the saying goes.

Reminds me of a friend of mine whose dashboard oil light kept going on; so he solved that problem by taping a piece of paper over the light. You can probably intuit the eventual fate of his car.

Along Came a Spider

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How scary is it, really?

Suppose you pass by a house and you hear a child screaming and a grown man yelling, repeatedly, “Why don’t you die?” Naturally, you call the cops. And naturally they come, hoping they’re on time to prevent a murder.

Such was a recent incident in Perth, Australia. Only it wasn’t a murder. The man in the house was yelling at a spider he was trying to kill, and the child was freaked out by the scene. There was nothing for the police to do. (

Hello? Hello? Anybody home up there–up in the old cranium?

All right, Australia has some pretty nasty spiders, and apparently this guy had an uncontrollable fear of them. Somehow he wasn’t able to dispatch the spider right away: sounds like he was too scared to see straight, and probably kept missing when he went to clobber the spider. I’m pretty sure I would’ve screamed, when I was three years old, if I saw my father carry on like that. But of course he wouldn’t have–not for all the tea in China.

Ah, the nooze…

Do you ever get the impression that there are all these little cracks in our culture, spreading out in all directions–like when a sheet of thin ice on a frozen pond is just about to give way under you? You’ve only just noticed, and you also notice that you’re two or three steps farther from the shore than you want to be, just now.

It’s only a man panicking over a spider. No big deal.

Or so we hope.

Britain’s Menstruating Males

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Don’t worry, they’re not really menstruating: they just think and say they are. The fact that it’s totally not true is dismissed as irrelevant.

Back in 2015 a poll found 25% of UK men said they had a “period” once a month; and 58% of their female “partners” believed them ( “Coo, love, I can’t do anything with Charlie when it’s his time o’ month…”

How did this happen? I wonder what the numbers would be if they took the poll again today, three years later. “One in five British men believes himself to be pregnant…” On second thought, don’t ask.

Has Anybody Seen the Nandi Bear?

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It’s hard to write this up as Mr. Nature, because the Nandi Bear might not exist. But it’s been a staple of East African folklore for a very long time, and I am told there are people in Kenya who are absolutely sure the beast is real–and very much to be avoided.

It is described as something between an oversized hyena and an undersized bear. As far as scientists can tell, bears have never lived in Africa south of the Sahara. Ice Age hyenas were much bigger and stronger than today’s hyenas, and they ate mammoths and rhinos. Eating a human wouldn’t pose much of a challenge.

Is it possible that an incredibly rare, powerful, nasty relative of the hyena prowls the forests of Kenya? People do sometimes attribute unidentified, fatal animal attacks on humans to the Nandi Bear. Hard to study an animal when no one who ever sees it lives to tell the tale.

And then there’s the basic problem of cryptozoology: no specimens. Because if you do come up with a specimen–like when fishermen first caught a coelacanth–it immediately ceases to be cryptozoological and becomes just plain zoological! What’s a poor cryptozoologist to do? His situation is impossible.

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