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Minute to midnight ...

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
A stopped clock is right twice a day.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Over my lunch break today, I was watching one of the final episodes in the WGN America series Manhattan, a well-done dramatic show about the civilians and soldiers holed up in Los Alamos, N.M. – “The Hill” – creating what would be the atomic bomb as part of the secretive Manhattan Project.

I highly recommend readers to check out Manhattan. While some scenarios and characters have been fictionalized for dramatic effect, the series creators really capture the urgency and paranoia that enveloped The Hill as America rushed to be the first to develop what they called “the gadget.”

NIGHTMARE: Dr. Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey) worried about "the gadget" in Manhattan. (WGN America)

And they would be successful, of course, on July 16, 1945, at Trinity Site on the Jornada del Muerto (Journey of the Dead Man) in south-central New Mexico.

I was thinking of this as I left the house, concluding my lunch break. As I stepped on the porch, I noticed that a clock I had hung on the exterior wall on my porch had fallen face down. I picked it up and found the glass shattered and the clock broken.

And then I noticed the time of the event – 11:59. Now, it could have happened within the hour, at 11:59 a.m. But the nail it had been attached to was still in the mortar between the bricks. It likely fell down after being blown by the wind. The past several nights had been particularly windy, with the wind chimes singing their song.

Yes, I sensed it fell at 11:59 p.m. a night or two ago. One minute to midnight. A chilling thought, in light of the current state of the world, where the threat of nuclear war has been at its highest level since the 1950’s.

And as I noted in my Jan. 27, 2017 Dust Devil Dreams post “Ball of confusion,” we highlighted a UK Daily Mail article at the time where the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists had moved up the “Doomsday Clock” to two-and-a-half minutes from midnight, “the closest we’ve come to global catastrophe in 64 years.”

And yet a lot has happened in the past nine-or-more months since that announcement was made by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Things are far more serious now, with tensions between the U.S. and North Korea at peak levels.

Recently, one of the scientists who put out the annual bulletin, Lawrence Krauss, was asked if the clock should be moved up another minute or so. He responded by saying while that the organization analyzes the state of the world once a year and that we would have to wait until 2018 for the next bulletin – assuming the missiles aren’t flying by then.

Trump, utilizing Twitter, let the world know that diplomacy has been tried – and failed – and that “only one thing will work” – the complete annihilation of North Korea, a scenario that would most certainly draw in China into what would likely snowball into World War III.

With his (Trump’s) bellicose and insane statement at the United Nations, Trump, you can say, has lit the wick of war against us,” said North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. “We need to settle the final score, only with a hail of fire, not words.

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis, a former general, remarked at the Association of the US Army Exposition on Building Readiness that the armed forces need “to be ready to ensure that we have military options that our president can employ if needed.”

Meanwhile, as tabloid news takes the lead, few in the media are highlighting the absolute seriousness of the situation between the US and North Korea.

However, Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough did say this morning that recent comments by U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) about Trump pushing the world closer to WWIII are of great concern, mainly because it is “unprecedented.” Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida said few in Congress have pushed back against Corker’s alarmist statement because “they’ve all said similar things behind closed doors.”

Ironically, Scarborough was one of the early Trump cheerleaders and had the billionaire on Morning Joe rather frequently during the 2016 campaign.

But now, Scarborough was singing a different tune, telling his audience today: “Foreign policy people yesterday (told) me, off the record of course, that the media is getting it wrong on Donald Trump, that actually we are far close(r) to a cataclysmic event. We had the nuclear clock when we were all growing up. It’s probably closer to midnight … than any time it’s been since the Cuban Missile Crisis (of 1962).


For several years now, I have noticed a significant uptick in the number of synchronicities I’ve experienced in relation to the threat of nuclear war.

When I looked down at the broken clock on the floor of my red porch, I felt a sense of dread. “11:59? Are you kidding me,” I thought to myself.

And then I suddenly thought of a Dust Devil Dreams post I wrote in September 2015 titled “Partner in time.”

That was because in the main image of the post, I had used a still from 1990’s Back to the Future Pt. III, the “Old West” one, where Doc Brown and Marty McFly are posed in front of the brand new, Hill Valley Courthouse clock face, which was set to 8:08.

"To Marty, Partners in time, September 5, 1885." (Universal Pictures)

In the post, I note a number of things, but the one that grabbed my attention again was where the villainous “Mad Dog” Tannen is challenging Marty to a duel in the main drag of 1885 Hill Valley – with the “as-yet-unfinished Hill Valley courthouse looming in the background.”

More importantly, I recalled that this post included information about this particular scene in the third installment of the Back to the Future franchise, which was filmed exactly 28 years ago today:

Time’s up, runt!” Tannen tells Marty (a.k.a. “Clint Eastwood”). The day that scene was filmed (October 11, 1989) was when a voice told me to name my 1979 Buick Century station wagon “Runtmobile.” To this day I have no idea where this “runt” idea came from, or why. In fact, I scrawled “Runtmobile” on the back of an old Kansas license plate and put it on the front of the car. Today, my Ford Explorer has a duplicate California tag from Back to the Future – OUTATIME.”

So, there was not only a “runt” sync back then, on Oct. 11, 1989 but today, Oct. 11, 2017, it’s a sync with “Mad Dog” as in both Tannen (whose descendant Biff Tannen is essentially Donald Trump), and Trump’s SecDef “Mad Dog” Mattis.

And Manhattan … of course …


So, incredibly, just last night, I completed reading Jeffrey J. Kripal’s wide-sweeping and remarkably detailed book Mutants & Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics and the Paranormal. I will have a review out in a few days.

But I mention that because Kripal features a lot regarding the work of Watchmen comics writer Alan Moore, who would, seven years after the release of Watchmen, have a deeply “gnostic experience” that would inspire his work, post-1994.

From Doomsday Clock (DC)

I mention Moore and Watchmen because today I discovered that a new comic book series – 12 in all – is being released on Nov. 22 (?!?!) titled Doomsday Clock. According to, “it’s the book that’s going to show us what happens when Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen meets the characters of the DC Universe.

The writer of the story, Susana Polo, tells readers that on the night of Oct. 5, 2017 “on the West Side of Manhattan, DC Comics welcomed a group of journalists into a gallery room ringed with every page of the first issue of Doomsday Clock.” While Moore isn’t writing this time, Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank are involved, with Polo writing: “If Watchmen was a book that held a mirror to the DC Universe 30 years ago, it’s becoming more and more clear that Doomsday Clock is a book that hopes, at least, to use the DC Universe to hold up a mirror right back.”

She writes that Johns said Doomsday Clock is “not a story about Superman punching Doctor Manhattan.”

There’s that name again. In relation to a borough in New York. In relation to a super-secret atomic-bomb-building project. In relation to a Watchmen character … In fact, the name of the Manhattan episode – the second to last one – that I was watching over lunch was titled “Brooklyn,” a reference to the New York borough and the baseball hat (Brooklyn Dodgers) worn by an American spy working for the Soviets and embedded as a physicist in the Manhattan Project - a guy trying to thwart the Trinity test.

Curiously, my favorite hat – which I happened upon a few months ago, is my blue “42” Brooklyn Dodgers hat, in honor of Jackie Robinson - and Oklahoma City's local Dodgers farm team. And we all know about that magical number 42 …

In any event, Doomsday Clock syncs up with today's world, with writer Geoff Johns saying that he and Gary Frank originally planned to do the crossover, but then decided not to. But as Johns told The Hollywood Reporter: "And then the election happened. And then other things in the world happened, and it changed. Suddenly, the whole story just jumped into my head ..."

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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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