Living on an alien planet can be difficult sometimes. It requires work and effort. Every afternoon, I turn on the news and try to figure out what is going on around here.

The news anchor swivels his eyestalks as he lectures his audience. “On our planet, we believe in having as much freedom as possible,” he explains. “That’s why the clerk in Kentucky is keeping same sex couples from getting married…she’s doing it in the name of freedom.”

Okay, so that makes no sense. But hey, different lifeforms and all that, right? And what kind of strange name is Kentucky, anyway?

I keep watching, but it doesn’t get any better. An interviewer shifts herself and her low-cut dress towards the camera, so that we can more clearly see the cleavage of her five breasts. “Ooooh, is that really your answer?” she chirps. “You wouldn’t terminate your female partner’s pregnancy even if it meant ending her life? You would watch her die?”

“Oh, certainly! I will always stand in defense of life.”

“Well, blirpity blorpity, Senator!” she giggles.

This is becoming hopeless. Now, snippets from a press conference. A truly strange creature with a bizarre growth on its head leans into the microphones.

“The Latinos love me!” it yells. “The Mexicans, they love me! Just last week, I gave one of them a $10 tip, and he said to me…”

Is there no intelligence to be found out here?

It’s almost a relief to see the televangelist lifeform flail its tentacles up to the sky. “He’s coming back!” it screeches. “He’s coming back and when He does, everyone who didn’t listen to my warning will get TOSSED into the lake of fire!”

The lake of fire sounds preferable to this insanity…I hope I get tossed in there soon. To borrow a phrase from this crazy tribe, amen.

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The man being interviewed clears his throat thoughtfully, as he ponders the really big dilemmas. Does alien life exist out there in the universe? Will we find it–or will it find us–one day?

I think the entire conversation is silly. We’ve been receiving alien transmissions for a long time. All I have to do to hear them is turn the radio dial.

“Who knows if the theory of evolution is true? And who cares? Why would you even ask anyone about it…it’s such a gotcha question!”

“Kbbhhlth…zgfffx…Women who want equal pay are angry feminazis….”

Somewhere in the darkest reaches of space, a planet is spinning wildly. Its empty canyons echo with the sounds of Joni Ernst’s manic laughter, its silence occasionally interrupted by the sobbing call of the orange-hued Boehner. It’s beaming its signals back to the reality I inhabit. Its messages are enigmatic and difficult to decipher.

“It was a good decision to go into Iraq…bleep bleep blorp…”

What in God’s name are these lifeforms trying to say? Either this is a civilization so advanced that I am unable to follow the twists and turns of its logic, or these aliens have spent such a long time breathing in their own unique atmosphere that it has driven them nuts.

The serious question is, why do I continue to spend my time intercepting their radio communications, trying to make sense of the garbled noise they broadcast? I could listen to NPR, which reports on actual Earth news as opposed to that of an alternate universe. The NPR hosts speak in measured, reasonable tones. The guests are experts in their field. They don’t scream at the people they disagree with, or break down weeping, or rave with excitement about the upcoming end of the world. So why do I change the station?

Could it be that I’m just a little bit crazy myself? Could it be that I have an attachment to my beliefs which is unreasonable, immoderate, irrational? Is it easier for me to identify with these strange creatures which lose their temper when they care too much, than with the humans who calmly explain how they feel?

Whatever the case, I will keep listening for the sounds of the insane planet, listening to it whirling in the darkness, while I sit in front of the radio and whirl around my own confused axis.

A few nights ago, I plopped into bed and turned on Coast to Coast AM.  I hadn’t listened to the show in years.  Back in college, I used to put myself to sleep every night with the UFO abduction stories, ghost hunter recordings and chupacabra sightings.  Sure, I knew that a lot of what I was listening to was complete bullshit, but it was oh so entertaining.  There was the guy who played speeches backwards to reveal what was in the speaker’s subconscious, and caught Bill Clinton saying “I love women!”  There were the alien-human hybrid babies, and supernatural indigo children.  I could turn the radio on and hear someone say “I’ve talked to the dwarves, but they don’t know if the fairies ever sleep.” 

So I got tired of the endless war and slaughter being reported on the BBC, and thought, I wonder what’s happening on Coast to Coast?

What’s happened is that the show I used to love is dead.  More accurately, it has turned into just another conservative talk show.

Sure, Art Bell had his own libertarian streak, and I didn’t always agree with him, but I don’t remember him ever leaning this heavily on politics.  The new host (at least the one I heard that night) and his callers pretty much engaged in an hour of the most tired, predictable kind of Obama bashing, even with a few Obamacare jabs thrown in.  Hey, they have the right to their opinion, but if I wanted to hear that sort of thing, there are about a gazillion other radio shows like that on the air.  To my amazement, the hour ended with words of high praise for John Hagee…and when I researched a little further, I discovered that religious right pastors have been regular guests on the show lately.

I realize that it’s only natural that the personality of the show changed when Art Bell left.  It’s just that I feel the way a conservative Rush Limbaugh fan would feel if they turned on the radio and discovered that Rush had now turned into a home improvement talker, and a crappy one at that.  The essence of the show is different.  Coast to Coast used to be an eerie nighttime journey into the paranormal.  It was a unique kind of programming, and it stood out.  Now, it sounds like everything else out there.

And so I tucked my tail between my legs and went crawling back for more depressing Egypt news from the BBC World Service.  Maybe I just need to find a good ambient music station for my nights…

After catching up on my science news tonight, I can understand why some of my conservative religious friends don’t like science very much.  One of the articles told me that we exist inside a huge black hole.  Another one proposed the theory that we are just imaginary holograms.  And that wasn’t half as scary as reading about the reality of what is happening to our climate, and of what might happen to our crops and food supply.

So I’m almost ready to do as the Christian conservatives do and ditch scientific thinking altogether.  Now, instead of looking forward to the weather spinning out of control, I can dream about the Rapture, in which I will be magically airlifted out of any future problems.  Instead of fearing a world war, I can welcome it–it’s a necessary precursor to Armageddon, after all.  And who doesn’t want Armageddon?  If the Bible seems a little antiquated, I can always substitute the kindly guidance of aliens, which will culminate in a moment of global enlightenment in December 2012.  Either way, I will know what to expect, as opposed to feeling like I’m getting tossed here and there in a dark universe.  Take those scientists and burn them at the stake, like we used to!  They make me nervous.

Unfortunately, I’m a little too creative and too easily distracted, which means I will never be able to stick to one theology for very long.  My attempt at staying inside the safety of that box is doomed from the start.  That’s okay–there’s more than enough beauty in this chaotic universe to keep me going.