Monday, November 12, 2012

One born every minute

Or we could say, since the story appears to have originated in the Triangle and was picked up in Charlotte, that a minimum of three are born every minute:

CARRBORO Roscoe Saturn* was peeing in his compost last weekend – it saves water and adds nitrogen** – when he looked up and saw something streak across the sky.

“It looked like a shooting star,” the custom furniture maker said. But he’s seen those before, he said, and it wasn’t one.

“It was a streak of light that started going over my head,” he said.

As he turned his head and arched his back, it seemed to slow down and went from a streak to a perfect three-pointed triangle. Then it disappeared over the tree line.

The skeptical reader can be forgiven for suspecting that the story is less about the pending alien invasion than it is about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get "peeing in his compost" into the lede.*** So the local paper gets to work:

The whole thing left Mars a little “wigged out.”

Now he wants to know what he saw.

Carrboro and Chapel Hill police received no calls about a sighting, and two military bases said they didn’t have or don’t think they had any local flyovers Nov. 3, the night Mars saw ... whatever he saw.

There's a sort of implied tongue-in-cheekiness when you ask the local cops if they've seen any UFOs lately. When the big-town papers get hold of it, alas, it's a bit easier to think they can't tell the difference. Especially when Our Hero finds ...

... Saturn found a photo online that looked like what he saw. Davenport**** looked at it Thursday.

“All I can say is it’s not a meteor,” he said. “It appears not to be an aircraft, certainly not an aircraft flying legally. ... So that leaves it in the basket of the unknown.”
Can we sum this up as: The photo that one guy thinks looks sort of like the UFO doesn't look like an aircraft to the other guy? OK, just so we're clear on that.

Several days after the incident, Saturn remained unsettled.

And here the big papers conclude, though there's another graf in the local version -- suggesting, perhaps, that they don't entirely know what they're doing. If you're the local paper with a local-man-sees-UFO story, that's your business. But if you're the big cousins picking up a local UFO story, you can only make yourself look sillier by adding all that pesky attribution -- turning "Man sees UFO over Carrboro" into "Man says he saw UFO fly over Carrboro." I'm starting to think you take the whole thing seriously, compost or not.

* Names changed to protect the innocent, but not much
** Raleigh, Charlotte, a little explanation is in order here. Who decided to take out the water-saving angle?
*** "George W. Bush awoke one morning and looked out the windows of the White House to see Saddam Hussein peeing in his compost." It isn't that hard.
**** Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center, introduced in the previous graf.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there's not much excess water in the compost, peeing in it isn't such a good idea: adds too much salt

12:47 AM, November 13, 2012  

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