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Hourglass

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OKLAHOMA CITY – I have been immersed in reading so many books of late – as well as writing another book myself – that watching television has proven difficult, although the past few weeks I have made time for two shows (via Amazon Prime) in particular: the third season of True Detective and the new series Project Blue Book.

Both are compelling and not without their faults. But, frankly, at this point in my life, I am not as black-and-white as I used to be, earlier in my adulthood. You learn to look deeper at the images and ideas presented and, in my case, look for patterns that correspond with an overarching truth or revelation.

In True Detective, Mahershala Ali’s complex character, Arkansas State Police Det. Wayne Hays (aka “Purple Hays”), is leading an investigation into the death of local boy, murdered amidst the rocks and trees and ritualistically placed in a cave  in Devil's Den State Park – where his body is ultimately discovered by Hays, a professional tracker and Vietnam War veteran. I was interested in the "toys" found near the site of the boy's murder. Dungeons & Dragons dice, Star Wars action figures. An electronic football game that I had as a child, in Arkansas, in 1980. Like this one here ... (which I found in a Southaven, Mississippi GameStop store last year).

The mystery is deepening in Project Blue Book. And Dr. Hynek is realizing he is getting the wool pulled over his eyes by grump Air Force generals who fear the truth. The UFO reality - if that is even a thing.

But in our True Detective series, Hays realizes he is up against something that is entirely unlike anything he has experienced. And the audience is forced to time-jump in each episode, between 1980, 1990 and 2015. It's a little confusing for the audience as well. And what is real. What is misremembered? And what about all the "water under the bridge"?

Look, I don’t read Reddit conspiracy threads or delve into spoilers and so forth. Just as I rarely watch the “behind the scenes” of the making of a movie.

Well, I did watch the making of Back to the Future Pt. III, the Wild West-era-set 1990 film that completed the Robert Zemeckis-helmed time-travel-trilogy. I wrote about it before (“Fiver”) in reference to Mad Dog Tannen saying “Time’s up, runt” to Marty McFly (“Clint Eastwood”) in a gunfight on Hill Valley’s main dirt drag, circa 1885.

Time, time, time. It’s a river? Or is it something completely different? Over lunch,in a local restaurant, three songs caught my attention, one after the other: “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen, “Time Is On My Side” by The Rolling Stones” and “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” by Fleetwood Mac.

The first song, by Springsteen, emphasizes the glories of the past, while encouraging listeners to make most of the present. The second, the Norman Meade-penned “Time Is On My Side,” and originally an R&B hit for Irma Thomas, references “time” as being something that will benefit the singer, who has been wronged, but is willing to ride out the storm, because there is a lot of “time” to utilize. Only a young person would think this way, right?

The third, “Don’t Stop,” a Fleetwood Mac classic utilized by Bill Clinton during his first presidential campaign in 1992, notes that if you just wait until tomorrow, things will be better. A cheerful notion, right?

You would think “Hazy Shade of Winter,” the Bangles cover, would be cued up … “Time, time, time … see what’s become of me” … (I mentioned this same song in a July 2016 Dust Devil Dreams post - "Supernatural, perhaps.")

But it was the next song I heard that really capped it …

HOURGLASS

The brassy, poppy, smart Squeeze tune “Hourglass,” long a personal favorite of mine, was a big hit in the summer of 1987, and was the first song pulled from their Babylon and On and written by band members Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford.

In the second verse, we hear: “The hourglass has no more grains of sand / My watch has stopped, no more turning hands / The crew have abandoned the ship / The lights are on but no one is in.”

It was the first song I heard on the radio after leaving the eatery, "Hourglass" was playing. The time theme was continuing to bat me around the brain. And this, in a year of sirens, Sibyl and distractions that seem to be leading us to our peril. The sands in the hourglass of our "time" are increasingly slipping through the "waist" of the hourglass

The 45 RPM single sleeve for "Hourglass" featured an artistic rendering of a mermaid singing into a microphone. 

The hourglass. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives, as actor MacDonald Carey of that old soap opera would tell us, including kids like me who were home sick from school. 

Yesterday, I ditched a fundraiser and headed to a local bar with a Cold War/”Duck and Cover” theme – the Bunker Club.

As I sat there drinking my bourbon, I was suddenly captivated with the Atomic Age propaganda films, US military footage of nuclear tests in the Pacific and the Nevada Test Site. And the fallout shelter films with Leave it to Beaver families stocking up in case that fateful day arrived when “The Bomb” was dropped. Maybe that day isn't so far off, all of these years later. 

Little did I know at the time, but The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists was releasing its annual report, and, like 2018, “the new abnormal” is upon us.

The press release, released Thursday, begins: “Citing lack of progress on nuclear risks and climate change dangers as “the new abnormal,” the Doomsday Clock remains at 2 minutes to midnight, as close to the symbolic point of annihilation that the iconic Clock has been since 1953 at the height of the Cold War. The decision announced today to keep the Doomsday Clock at two minutes before midnight was made by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board in consultation with the Board of Sponsors, which includes 14 Nobel Laureates.” (Sync with my October 2017 DDD piece "Minute to midnight.")

Back to my original comment about watching True Detective and Project Blue Book. While not directly connected to the series, set in the autumn of 1980 in Northwest Arkansas, a few months earlier, in September 1980, some 150 miles east/southeast of West Fork, Arkansas (noted as "West Finger" in TD), there was a near-catastrophe at at Titan II nuclear missile silo there, when a wrench fell into the silo and set off a chain reaction that nearly blew up a bucolic bit of Natural State countryside. Meanwhile, in Project Blue Book, the latest episode embraces the Cold War/nuclear threat theme, with Dr. J. Allen Hynek's wife buying a do-it-yourself fallout shelter and putting it in their Columbus, Ohio backyard. The Hynek's son seems particularly concerned about the threat of thermonuclear war and says as much. We should not be surprised, since show producer Robert Zemeckis made much of the nuclear threat and nuclear power in the Back to the Future trilogy. Check out Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser.

But where am I going with all this? I guess it is the fact that the UFO phenomena and the nuclear issue are closely connected. but the government is revealing very little about it. My 2015 review of Robert Salas' book Unidentified: the UFO Phenomenon, noted the link between UFOs and their interest in nuclear weapons. And my latest book review, Incident at Devils Den by Terry Lovelace, also notes UFOs and their interest in nuclear missile silos.

So far, these sky tricksters have seemingly only temporarily disabled the silo mechanisms and so forth. And no wars have accidentally started. It's quite amazing, when you think about it. 

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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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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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