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UFOs, Pooh, and Webster’s

Encounters: Experiences With Nonhuman Intelligences. D.W. Pasulka, St. Martin’s, 2023. 248 pages.

This book didn’t do it for me. Because I’m a UFO witness (seeing is believing!), I understand UFOs as material phenomena that should be investigated by the material sciences. D.W. Pasulka, who is a religion professor, sees UFOs as the focus of some kind of new religion. That’s an interesting angle, especially for those who think there is nothing real about UFOs. To many of us, though, it’s a kind of insult.

I’ve written here previously about the UFO I saw, so there’s no need to go into that now. I certainly don’t deny that there is something religionlike about UFOs for those who have never seen one and to whom their existence is a matter of faith. And it is certainly true that, if you’ve ever had a good look at a UFO (as opposed to mere lights in the sky), then that changes you forever, in the same way that Pasulka describes quite well, using the testimony of, say, astronauts who have seen the earth as a globe silently suspended in a vast but starry emptiness. Some of those astronauts have seen things out there that oughtn’t to be out there.

We UFO Truthers are still waiting for the truth. It would be ever so nice if it happened in my lifetime. The question, to me, isn’t whether UFOs exist. It’s who they are, where they come from, why they’re here, and what they can tell us about the universe beyond our solar system.

It’s very strange that I never read Winnie the Pooh as a child. School libraries certainly had copies of it. My guess is that I was a snob reader as a boy and that I considered Winnie the Pooh as beneath my grade level. But every home library should have a copy of Winnie the Pooh. I bought this copy on eBay. It’s the 1961 reprint edition, with the same illustrations (by Ernest H. Shepard) as the 1926 first edition. My copy has a charming bookplate, inscribed in a child’s hand as belonging to a boy named Gabriel. On the title page is a note to Gabriel that shows that the book was a Christmas gift in 1971. The book has some stains and is a bit frazzled around the edges, as a Winnie the Pooh book ought to be.

Winnie the Pooh, by the way, has been in the public domain in the U.S. since 2022.

My second book rebinding job was a worn-out Webster’s dictionary. Eggheaded nerds like me don’t often make things with our hands. But it’s a rewarding (and useful) activity. I can’t rescue cats, because Lily would never tolerate another cat in her house. But I can rescue old books.

It would have been ever so nice, when I built my house 15 years ago, if I had been able to afford a proper chimney. But a brick chimney on a house that is more than 30 feet tall would have cost a fortune. Not having a chimney foreclosed on the possibility of ever having wood heat (though I do have a propane fireplace that vents to the outside). Heating with wood would be very bad for air quality if everybody did it. And not everybody lives down in the woods as I do. But I have enough hardwood trees on my land to heat with wood without ever having to sacrifice a live tree. Elderly trees regularly fall over, especially in storms. Plus, my neighbors all own more woodland than I do. A nice thing about rural culture here is that downed trees are still seen as a kind of commons. If a tree falls, someone can always be found who needs the firewood. If a tree falls on a public road (as often happens), someone will quickly get it out of the way and turn it into firewood.

As a liberal prepper, one of the things I’m required to worry about is what I would do if the electric grid ever went down. Except for my propane fireplace, my heat sources rely on electricity. In a place this rural and dense with forests, power failures are common, though I’ve never had one here that lasted more than a day. Plus the propane fireplace does not have the capacity to heat the whole house in really cold weather. For a long time I had wanted a good wood stove to stash in the basement. If it was ever needed, it would be possible to make a makeshift but safe chimney out of metal pipe. I finally got my wood stove, and it’s a beauty, several years old but never used. It’s enormous, made from heavy steel plate (with a cast iron door). The stove was locally made by a welder who either died or went out of business before all the stoves he’d made had been sold. A neighbor of mine bought four of the surplus stoves at a steep discount, and I was able to get one of them. Its flat top is plenty big enough to cook on.

Wood stoves would not be practical in lots of places. But here in the woods, where everybody has chain saws and hydraulic wood splitters, wood stoves are eminently practical — as long as you have a chimney.


  1. Henry Sandigo wrote:

    Each of my daughters has a Winnie The Pooh book, one from 1967 and the other from 1970, buried somewhere in their homes or maybe on a shelf. Unfortunately my grandkids weren’t interested enough, and I presume because of the tug from electronic devices.

    I think its illegal to burn wood in California, and I’m not sure of that

    Congrats re another book bind project. Webster would be proud of you

    Wednesday, January 24, 2024 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
  2. Jo wrote:

    David, my opinion is installing your new stove in the basement utilizing a metal pipe makes sense. Using it very sporadically in emergencies would have minimal effect on the environment. On a skiing trip years ago, we were snowed in for four days. The wood stove was only to be used in case of a loss of power. Needless to say, it was a lifesaver. My grandson still remembers that trip and the food we prepared on it. You are fortunate to have an unused one.

    Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 7:23 pm | Permalink
  3. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Henry and Jo: Lots of people burning wood of course would be a problem in populated places. Out here in the woods, I enjoy the faint scent of smoke from neighbors wood fires. I sometimes help neighbors split wood — amazing how easy that is with a hydraulic splitter. Anyway, I’m very glad to have such a nice stove for backup, if it’s ever needed.

    Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

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