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Smithereenies

Warner Bros.
"Say your prayers you flea-bitten varmint! I'm a gonna blow you to smithereenies."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – In a topical Dust Devil Dreams article I wrote last month called “Down the rabbit hole we go …” where I covered a variety of issues, from “trigger events” to the recently shot-down Malaysian airliner to a seeming return to a “Cold War” approach to Russia.

Yes, “war” is on my mind, as it is for many people who follow world events. But probably the most interesting thing I wrote in that article was the “American Revolution” sync I had while in the middle of writing that piece, my son called me in to watch a Bugs Bunny cartoon on a Looney Tunes DVD collection. The episode was 1949/50’s “Bunker Hill Bunny” where Bugs Bunny plays a patriotic, American rebel, fighting a Hessian fighter played by Yosemite Sam.

It’s a good cartoon short and shows the American Bugs Bunny, in a wooden fort, besting his cannon-wielding enemy in a stone fortress.

At the time I noted that I had been having a number of Alice in Wonderland syncs (note yesterday’s DDD and my reference to Alice and the Gryphon) and that at the beginning of the short, Bugs Bunny is firing a cannon from the safety of his rabbit … err … fox hole.

Well … I had a bit of pleasant shock today, thanks to my sync-blogging friend Todd Campbell, over at Through the Looking Glass. I had left a comment on Todd’s post where he talks about 1989 and makes references to Beatle George Harrison. Well, I’ve been cranking some George in my car which my son nicknamed “Beatle George,” and been letting the music wash over me, from “What Is Life?” to “Cheer Down.” Todd noted that George’s Best of Dark Horse: 1976-1989 came out that year. (For more on George Harrison and a sync-link to Buddy Holly and "beetles," go here)

One thing I remember about 1989 was that I was taking a high-school French class that year. And through the class, our teacher was selling T-shirts recalling the French Revolution, 200 years earlier. Bicentenaire de la Revolution, which would be celebrated on the 14th of July that year. I wore that shirt a lot that summer. 

And here in the U.S., our country’s first president, George Washington, was inaugurated, and in August 1789, the U.S. Department of War was established.

There’s that “war” sync again.

And a lot of changes came about in that year, 25 years ago. Tiananmen Square. The Berlin Wall. This syncs with my feeling that great change is upon us. Transformation. Interestingly, here in OKC, a time capsule from 1989 was opened at a Putnam City school with predictions about the future. Some came true. Predictions of regular trips to the Moon, however, did not.

Also, in 1989, I was way into the alt-rock band The Smithereens. I was a sucker for their catchy, melodic, slightly hard, jangle-rock. Their Smithereens 11 album was played a lot! In fact, just last week I was humming "Yesterday Girl" and the song "Maria Elena," a song about Buddy Holly's wife. Of course I was in Clear Lake, Iowa in late May and visited the Surf Ballroom where Buddy made his last phone call to Maria Elena before his plane went down in that Iowa cornfield. Last week I also saw Marshall Crenshaw (note the Route 66 sign directly over his head) who played a Buddy Holly song on 1987's La Bamba and is going to appear soon on a bill with The Smithereens ... 

But back to “Bunker Hill Bunny”  …

Todd, in his message, asked me if I was aware of the “Yosemite Sam Transmission”? What was that? I had never heard of it.

He sent me a link to a YouTube video (from a 2013 video by MSN’s The Weekly Strange) which discussed the transmission, which was first heard in December 2004 and again in early 2005. It was a signal that was picked up by shortwave radio enthusiasts at 3700kHz, and was “being heard all over the USA at good strength.”

As a 2010 post at Mystery Signals of the Short Wave noted,” the strange signal “consisted of a short data burst followed by a piece of garbled speech and being sent every 50 seconds.”

It was also being picked up on the frequencies 4300, 6500 and 10500kHz.

It turned out that those hearing the stronger signal were able to confirm that the “garbled speech” was actually a clip of Yosemite Sam saying, “…varmint – I’m a gonna blow you to smithereenies.”

And this was a clip from the “Bunker Hill Bunny” cartoon short I referenced in my early DDD post! In fact, I pulled out the DVD and watched that short again. It’s a scene where Yosemite Sam has just been hit with a cannonball and he pokes his head out of his fortress and yells to Bugs Bunny: “Say your prayers you flea-bitten varmint. I’m a gonna blow you to smithereenies.”

Why was that clip chosen? What did it mean? And who was sending it. And what was in the “compressed data bursts” in the signal? A lot of conspiracy analysts have looked at it, including the good people at Reddit and elsewhere.

As the MSN program notes, compressed data bursts can contain “pictures, video, even instructions” and would require a “decoding” expert to uncover what was in the signal.

In the aforementioned article, it turns out that two ham-radio sleuths, Mike Stark and Mike Langner wanted to get to the bottom of the mysterious “Yosemite Sam Transmission.” So, on Feb. 16, 2005, the two tracked the signals to a site on the Laguna Indian Reservation west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and right off of synchromystical Route 66, interestingly enough.

Once there, they “approached a compound containing two buildings, towers and antennas and were able to confirm that they had found the source of the transmissions, The MATIC (Mobility Assessment Test & Integration) Center.”

It turns out that the mysterious MATIC Center, part of Laguna Industries, was a military contract facility “developing mobile communications battlefield systems for the U.S. Army.”

In light of the fact that the “Bunker Hill Bunny” short is about Bugs Bunny being a defender of the just-being-born United States, makes this whole situation all-the-more “curious,” as Alice and/or the Gryphon would say.

So, what happened to the two hams? Well, after snapping pictures and more-or-less standing out there at the desert facility, security approached and they “beat a hasty retreat,” not unlike a soot-covered Yosemite Sam Hessian.

Within hours of the two ham-radio operators finding the source of the “Yosemite Sam Transmission,” the signal was suddenly silenced. It’s purpose was never uncovered.

Further research revealed that the Laguna Pueblo Indian tribe of west-central New Mexico owns the Laguna Construction Company and in the 2004-05 time period “was one of the largest U.S. contractors in Iraq, with “reconstruction contracts worth more than $300 million.” Also, uranium mining on Pueblo of Laguna land has contributed money for scholarship programs for the Laguna members. 

Will we ever find the purpose of the strange signal? Maybe not. But then again, just last night I heard a strange tapping in my bedroom at 3 a.m. The instant I got out of bed and my feet touched the floor, the tapping stopped. Another mystery for another time, perhaps.

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About the Author

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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