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Cave in the rain

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Headlines in Little Rock's "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette" newspaper, addressing the Thai cave rescue.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin is a curious character, to say the least. While he was the second man to walk on the surface of the Moon back in 1969 (or did he???), he has actually maintained a pretty high profile and has been quite vocal about his support of a renewed interest in the United States sending humans to Mars and back to the Moon.

After all, he's been there, right?

His comments nearly a decade ago about a “monolith” being on the surface the “potato-shaped” Martian moon of Phobos certainly raised some eyebrows, and brought to mind the mysterious, black obelisk in the Stanley Kubrick classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film celebrating its 50th anniversary, and rightfully so. It changed my life.

But it was a “coincidental” event in late 2016 that warranted a post here at Dust Devil Dreams involving our good pal Buzz.

At the time, Aldrin, who was 86, was doing some “research” at the South Pole with his son Andrew and some other people. While there, he got sick, so sick that he was evacuated from the continent of Antarctica and flown to Christchurch, New Zealand where he was given treatment for a condition that led to fluid filling his lungs.

Aldrin recovered, thanks to the diligent medical miracle man Dr. David Bowie! Yes, the astronaut who was on the Moon when the singer David Bowie was first singing “Space Oddity” – a wink to 2001: A Space Odyssey – a breakthrough song for the man who would soon present himself to the world as a far-out, alien glam-rock star: Ziggy Stardust.

News accounts of Aldrin being treated by Dr. David Bowie began with opening sentences reading: “In a remarkable coincidence …” and I wrote in-depth about it in my piece “Hazy cosmic jive (Get your ass to Mars),” on Dec. 6, 2016.

I chalked up this synchromystic event involving Buzz Aldrin and his doc as being a continuation of what I call The Blackstar Event, which revolves around Bowie; Bowie’s death at age 69 in January 2016, the release of his final album Blackstar, the startling rise of Donald Trump and occult clues in Bowie's music and art and in popular culture at large, including the Back to the Future trilogy, among others.

I mention all this in light of the recent drama that unfolded in Thailand in late June and early July (during the World Cup, naturally), involving the 12 members of the Wild Boars soccer team, along with their coach, who were trapped deep in the Tham Luang cave complex when flooding rains filled up the cavernous, subterranean system and trapped the unlucky 13.

The world watched and waited. At first it was assumed they were probably dead. But British divers discovered the 13 – all alive. It was stunning that they had all survived those first 10 days in the dark, using Buddhist meditation to keep their wits about them. Getting them out, however, due to the high water – and more rain in the forecast – was daunting. Some said it would take months.

But Thai, American, British and Australian military and volunteers put their heads together and, with all options exhausted and the boys and their coach waiting for a final rescue, it came down to one man – Australian cave diver and retrieval expert Richard Harris, an anesthetist from Adelaide in the state of South Australia.

Yes, Richard Harris. And he, along with Perth vet Craig Challen, led the final – and thankfully successful - rescue operation extracting the Wild Boars from the cave, flooded by the rain. It is here that I strongly urge readers to hop over to The Secret Sun and take a gander at Christopher Knowles’ analysis of the Thai cave rescue and the overt and covert symbolism and ritual aspects of the whole drama that kept the world on the edge of its seat – oh, and pay attention to Perth, in Western Australia. Knowles knows!

And so when I saw that name, “Richard Harris,” I was stunned. This was exactly two months after my “Cake in the rain” post I wrote for Dust Devil Dreams. I literally saw a cake in a box, left out in the rain, outside the gym I attend. Who left it? What did it mean? I was meant to see this cake. It triggered a serious synchromystic moment for me and led to several posts.


Yes, that was a reference to the Jimmy Webb-penned song “MacArthur Park” which was performed by dramatic Irish actor-turned-singer Richard Harris. As I noted in my piece, the Oklahoma songwriter met Harris at a party shortly after Harris had come off his role as King Arthur (!!!) in the 1967 film Camelot.

Harris went all in on Webb’s song, recording it for his oddly-named 1968 album A Tramp Shining.

The single, “MacArthur Park,” with its references to a “cake out in the rain” bring to mind all sorts of weird, sadly romantic imagery. Harris really puts his heart into it, alongside the crack musicianship of the Wrecking Crew and Jimmy Webb on harpsichord.

"MacArthur Park" was released in April 1968, shortly after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. It would rise up the charts over the next two months, reaching number 2 on June 22, 1968 - one day after the 50th anniversary of the song's success on the American charts, the Thai soccer team, 12 boys and 1 coach, go missing.

Curious, eh? Oh, and "MacArthur Park" would actually hit the number one spot in both Canada AND Australia. They love Richard Harris!

But what of that park in Los Angeles that place-name-loving Jimmy Webb wrote about?

Is it named for famous 5-Star Gen. Douglas MacArthur, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, who was born in that city in 1880 while his father, Arthur MacArthur, was commandant of the Little Rock Arsenal. Growing up in Little Rock 100 years after MacArthur’s birth, I would often attend events at that city’s MacArthur Park, as he was one of Little Rock’s most famous citizens.

Less so, though, was Bigadier General Albert Pike, who spent his final years in Little Rock, an old man when future-Gen. MacArthur was born in the same city. Pike, who served in the Confederate Army, was also a noted writer, reporter and poet. He would also become a member of the Freemasons, rapidly rising to the position Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite’s Southern Jurisdiction in 1859.

Pike would also publish a book – catnip to conspiracy theorists – titled Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

Oh, and quite coincidentally, Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, in addition to taking an American flag to the Moon with him 49 years ago this month, also brought a banner to the lunar surface, this one of the Supreme Council 33° Southern Jurisdiction, USA. It was also said that Aldrin performed a Christian "communion" ceremony while on the Moon's surface.

As a 2012 Guardian article reminded readers, shortly after the death of fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong: 

“He then ate and drank the elements. The surreal ceremony is described in an article by Aldrin in a 1970 copy of Guideposts magazine: "I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.”

I bet ol’ Albert Pike would be proud of ol’ Buzz, performing rituals on the fucking Moon!

Aldrin, a 33°  Freemason, had many Brother Masons in the NASA Apollo program. Oklahoma native Gordon Cooper actually brought the first Masonic banner into space when he performed orbits around the Earth in Gemini 5 in 1965.

I noted Cooper in a recent Dust Devil Dreams post, “Keep looking up! (Skylights),” referencing Cooper’s obsession with UFOs.


But back to MacArthur Park …

Originally, MacArthur Park in Los Angeles and was known as Westlake Park and built in the 1880’s. But by 1942, with World War II ramping up, MacArthur’s role in the Pacific theater was critical and successful for the Allied forces. He was considered a hero, although his legacy is contested today. Meanwhile, at the same time, over in Little Rock, their park was renamed MacArthur Park.

Gen. MacArthur would end up in Australia during the war, right after the Battle of the Philippines. In fact, in 1942, when parks were being renamed in his honor in the United States, MacArthur was in South Australia on a train, stopping in the hamlet of Terowie at a train station built in 1880, the same year MacArthur himself was born. The military mastermind would serve in World War I, World War II and the Korean War and would become a 33rd degree Mason in 1947 while at the American Embassy in Japan.

While on the train platform at Terowie, MacArthur gave a famous speech about the Battle of the Philippines saying “I came out of Bataan and I shall return.” A monument was later placed at the spot where MacArthur gave this speech, in Terowie, which is now nearly a ghost town. Oh, and for those into Downardian mystical toponomy, Terowie is located at 33.09°S 138.55°E. MacArthur would reach 33° only five years later.

Oh, and Terowie is only 221 km from Adelaide, where the heroic cave diver Richard Harris hails from. In fact, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been quite vocal about his admiration for Harris, saying that he and his comrade will receive "honours" soon, in recognition of their  "heroism, professionalism, discipline, teamwork."

MacArthur would famously accept the Japanese surrender while aboard the USS Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945, less than a month after two atomic bombs destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And his time in Australia has been noted over the decades. The MacArthur Chambers and MacArthur Museum are in Brisbane in the Australian city of Queensland.

Something interesting about the actor Richard Harris ... not only did he play roles like Cain (clubbing his brother Abel with a bone, not unlike the scene in 2001 where the ape-man discovers weaponry, using a club on another ape-man after their encounter with a monolith) and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry's Prof. Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets. Dumbledore would be one of Harris's final roles on the silver screen. He would die in October 2002 and Michael Gambon would take on the Dumbledore role in the later Harry Potter films.


While Dr. Richard Harris was involved in his rescue mission in Thailand, his father, Dr. Jim Harris, died. Also during the rescue operation, Thai Navy Seal diver Saman Kunan died on July 6th. 

But for the trapped boys in the cave, four of them actually celebrated birthdays far underground. One of the boys, Duangpetch "Dom" Promthep, and captain of the Wild Boars soccer team, was informed by his family that in celebration of his birthday he will get "as big a cake as he wants" once he is out of the hospital and reunited with his family. 

Presumably, Dom and his family will celebrate indoors, keeping that big cake out of the monsoon rain. After all, it was that monsoon rain that started this whole drama to begin with.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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