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April 1, 2009 - A message for the people of the North Country

[The following is a message written to the people of the North Country from an alien being, living in the future on another planet.  The message was written on April 1, 2014, and was received at the PARC offices this morning.]


“To the people of Plattsburgh and Clinton County, good morning.  I used to be a resident of your fine community, but I was banished back to my home planet by some very persistent men dressed in black suits.  I know that many of you are concerned about the troubling economic times, but since I live at a time considered to be 5 years into your future, I can see that things didn’t get so bad.  To help you remain calm and upbeat, I will recite for you some of the key events that will happen over your next 5 years so that you may see for yourself that the bad times eventually got better.  (I am doing this from memory and I apologize for any lapses, misspellings, or misquotes.)

Let’s start with Sports:

1.         Manny Ramirez developed a nasty hangnail, and had to take most of the 2009 season off.  Out of a gesture of good will, Manny paid back the Dodgers over $20 million of his contract for his inability to play that year, pocketing the balance of $40 million.  In 2010, George Steinbrenner of the Yankees (who finished last in the American League in ‘09 despite leading the league in payroll with $2.7 billion) signed Manny to a contract of $1,000,000 per game.  Manny averaged only 30 games per year with the Yankees over the next 4 years and hit a total of 11 home runs.  He claimed that Alex Rodriguez’ cousin gave him the wrong juice.  The Yankees, feeling the economic pinch, applied for and received federal bailout money under the TARP program.  In 2011, the Yankees played so badly that the fans at home games at the new Yankee Stadium would holler “Roses are red, needles are sharp; forget the steroids, bring out the tarp”.

2.         Tiger Woods won 9 Majors in a row over a 3-year span; this, after having the famous “tie-one-arm-behind my-back-surgery” wherein his right arm was surgically attached to his back.  Tiger’s preeminence in the world of professional golf was so overwhelming that he legally changed his name to “Lefty”, which brought cries of “unfair” and “copy-cat” from Phil Mickelson, whose only tournament win during that period was the Genesee Open in  Enosburg Falls, Vermont.                                     

3.         March Madness was changed to May Madness by the NCAA in all of its marketing literature after changes in post-season scheduling allowed entry of 256 teams into the NCAA basketball tournament.  An NCAA spokesperson, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the increase from 64 teams to 256 teams was purely “...a money-seeking venture...” by the NCAA who charges each team $10,000 to enter the tournament.  Television revenue for the 3-month long tournament is expected to meet or exceed the $1 trillion in stimulus funds recently offered to the Big Three TV networks.  An additional revenue generator, introduced by the NCAA in 2014, is the dribble meter.  Basketballs now are outfitted with a dust-particle-sized chip that allows NCAA officials to monitor the total number of dribbles each team makes during the course of the game.  The total number of dribbles is electronically tracked and each competing school is taxed based on the total dribbles through the NCAA’s new EZ-Bounce administration, a partnership with Google Earth Inc.


1.         The Honorable Don Kasprzak won reelection as Mayor of the City of Plattsburgh in 2010 in a landslide over his Democratic opponent. 

2.         President Barack Obama lost his bid for reelection in 2012 in a landslide, but since the White House under his direction had taken over the Census Bureau and the Board of Elections, his staff found that 30% of those voting against him had illegally registered and therefore were ineligible to vote.  As a result of the recount, Mr. Obama declared himself the winner and remains President today.

3.         The Car-Bar-Tar-Czar has formally taken office.  Professor Eugene C. Florbitz of Eugene, Oregon has been appointed the first-ever over-seer of the combined offices of the Automobile Advisory Panel, the Tavern Advisory Panel, and the Asphalt Advisory Panel.  In an effort to save money, the Obama Administration announced the consolidation of these important agencies into one office under the direction of Professor Florbitz, beginning in 2014.  An avowed bicyclist, tea-totaller, and gravel-road-lover, Professor Florbitz was an obvious choice to head up the new agency.  His responsibilities will including drafting, reviewing, passing, and enforcing all legislation and specifications relating to new automobiles, drinking and eating establishments, and pavement for roads and parking areas.  Professor Florbitz popularized the memorable slogan, “You can’t be called Eugene, if you don’t have the U-Gene” during his campaign for the office, referring to his long-abiding love of helping others.

The Arts:

1.         John Grisham just finished writing his 75th novel.  The last one was about a young lawyer that confronts an unusual client involved in legal intrigue, personal temptations, high-rollers, and money.  (Actually, I don’t remember...that could have been his first novel, or maybe his tenth, or maybe his 25th, or maybe his 50th.)

2.         Bruce Willis just finished acting in his 75th movie.  The last one was about a disgruntled cop who plays it close to the line between good and evil, fighting evil when he appears to be good, and tempting good when he appears to be evil, with lots of car-chase scenes, gratuitous violence, and some of the best cursing and swearing ever witnessed on the big screen.  (Actually, I don’t remember...that could have been his first movie, or maybe his tenth, or maybe his 25th, or maybe his 50th.)

3.         Jack Bauer for President.  In a new adaptation of the long-running Fox television series, 24, counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer will in-fact be on duty 24 hours per day.  The new show, called Extreme 24, will actually run a full 24 hours per day, filming Jack on the job during the day, at home during the evening, and even as he sleeps.  Bauer will fight terrorists in his day job, be a supportive parent and husband at night, and in a new twist, organize a campaign to run for the Presidency of the United States in his spare time.  One of the more unbelievable aspects of the 24 series has been Jack’s ability to telephone and speak to the President if and as needed.  Now, as Jack ascends to the Presidency himself, he will have 24-hour access to the President (himself), his staff, and all the powers of the Presidency.  It is rumored, although unconfirmed, that at the start of the 2015 season, Jack will appoint old friend Tony Almeida to be Secretary of Defense, and Bill Buchanan (just back from the dead via a successful cryogenic transformation) as Secretary of State, and Chloe O’Brian as Vice-President.  This should make for some great television, and job security for all the Kiefer Sutherland look-alikes out there. 

Around Plattsburgh:

1.         Global warming was blamed for a reverse anti-temperature inversion which caused snow to fall in the Adirondacks for 14 straight months in 2011 and 2012.  Whiteface Mountain enjoyed its best season ever (actually, 2 seasons melded into 1) with a base of over 27 feet.  During the same period of time, Lake Champlain froze to a record depth of 6 feet.  Unfortunately, the Adirondack Park Agency declared the uncommon amounts of snow and ice to be environmental luxuries and required all skiers and ice-fishermen to obtain special permits so that they could be taxed on a per-use basis.  The permits carried bar-coded labels that could be read electronically by the EZ-Tax administration in Albany, a division of Google Earth Inc.

2.         The Plattsburgh International Race Track (PIRT) was finally completed at the former Clinton County Airport.  The 2.5-mile oval track was formally dedicated as a NASCAR, Indy Car, and Formula One racing facility.  In a surprise nuance, the Rhode Island Racing Company, owners and builders of the track, constructed a 50-mile long, 2-lane, straightaway extension that will connect PIRT with the new Montreal International Race Track (MIRT) in downtown Montreal.  The simultaneous construction of the 2 racing facilities and the straightaway extension will open the door for the oft-discussed “PIRT-MIRT 1000", a thousand-mile race consisting of 10 round trips between the 2 cities.  The main stumbling block at this time is how to handle the border crossings.  The current plan includes stopping each race-car each time it comes to the border (from the north or the south), inspecting the compartments of the car for groceries and duty-free items, determining compliance with NASCAR rules, and drug-testing, finger-printing, and retina-scanning the driver.  The race is expected to take about 12 days depending on the length of each stop at the border. 

3.         PARC announced today that it expected to receive its last deed from the U.S. Air Force within the next 30 days.  The oft-delayed final deed has been held up for several years pending the Department of Defense’s final Signature Of Legality (SOL) plan.  PARC was placed in the SOL category late in 2009 after many delays in the deed transfer schedule. You will remember that in the early 2000s, the intention was for PARC to receive the last deed under a transfer mechanism called a Finding Of Suitability for Early Transfer (FOSET).  But in 2009, after several starts and stops in the FOSET process, PARC requested and received permission to enter the SOL category.  This came with a corresponding change in the transfer mechanism to one called the Finding Of Suitability for a More Or Less Sooner Or Later Transfer (FOSMOLSOLT).  PARC has been apprised that it has received top priority for this last deed now that it is SOL.  A number of other base closure communities around the country also have been elevated to SOL status.  A Defense Department spokesperson, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated that “ this time all former bases expecting speedy delivery of their final deeds are SOL.”   

So, my Earthen friends, with the sampling of exciting and unique activities recited above, you can see that the next 5 years will be stimulating and rewarding, to say the least.  I urge you, as the old song goes, to “Don’t worry, be happy.”  Remember, 90 out of 100 things that you worry about never happen; 9 out of the remaining 10 are never as bad as you fear; leaving just that 1 in a 100 thing that could possibly be a problem - pretty good odds.  Well, good luck and have fun.  I hope to get back down there one of these days.  Of course, I will be invisible or embedded in the protoplasm of some other living organism so you won’t be able to see me anyway.  But, I will offer you no harm; my assignment will be to observe and report back to the mother ship about what is going on, and look for unique new ways to render taxes on you humans.” 

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