♪ "Up, up and away...in our beautiful balloon..."♬
What is it with balloons lately? Literally all aspects of the recent "Balloon Gate Saga" are utterly preposterous. First, the U.S. lets a suspected Chinese spy balloon slowly traverse the length and breadth of the country before finally shooting it down over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina...after it had several days to leisurely transmit the intelligence it gathered back home to the Chinese Communist Party. (It deliberately flew over several of our nation's most sensitive military sites.)
Yet now the Biden administration, perhaps chagrined, is blasting anything and everything out of the sky, even while acknowledging that these "unidentified flying objects" could be our own weather service — or corporate — balloons. What? Wouldn't and shouldn't we know if they were? Weather Service balloons are launched by another branch of government, one closely related to the Department of Defense...that shot them down.
The U.S. government was, apparently, unable to detect the giant Chinese spy balloon. That was left to citizens of Montana, who happened to look up into the clear blue sky. The official explanation for why the government was picking up so many unidentified objects is that, prior to this event, it was looking for only larger objects and has since tweaked its radar so as to detect smaller objects. You've got to be kidding me. I get this picture of a commander at NORAD approaching the big-screen radar controls and turning one large dial 90 degrees to the right to bring in smaller objects and immediately exclaiming, "Holy crap!"
The last (as I write this) "UFO" the U.S. shot down was reportedly an octagonal balloon-like vehicle with string-like appendages hanging down. It was drifting slowly along at 20,000 feet over Lake Huron. And the first missile fired by an Air Force plane missed it. How is that possible? A supersonic jet with state-of-the-art technology and guided missiles missed an unmanned, unarmed, slow-moving balloon? Why not just sidle up to it and pop it? A bi-plane and pilot with a .22 rifle could have brought it down. For that matter, why not just tether the thing, capture it, and bring it down intact? If we knew it posed no threat and really wanted to learn about it, wouldn't it be better to have the object on the ground and intact?
More preposterous than all of this, hard as it is to believe, is the speculation, even fear, among some that these balloons may be sent from — or even transporting — aliens from outer space. Yes, forget the flying saucers and other amazing craft of science fiction; it's probably a good bet that aliens chose to make the trek to Earth from a distant galaxy...in a balloon — "technology" we on Earth have had for over 100 years. Does Alpha Centauri have a good supply of mylar and helium?
I see balloons and blimps heading toward Earth from the far reaches of the cosmos, wicker gondolas suspended below, three-eyed greenies looking out over the basket tops. Perhaps there are some balloons with flame shooting upward from a console, a hand on a lever next to it.
How many light-years would it take them to reach the Earth going 20 miles an hour? (And toileting might be inconvenient.) Would entry into — and through — the Earth's atmosphere present a problem for these balloons after their long interstellar trip?
And after all that, deliberately defenseless, they are shot down?
Not exactly The War of the Worlds.
Beam me up, Scotty — there's no intelligent life here.
Or anywhere else, apparently.
Image: Free image, Pixabay license, no attribution required.