Saturday, February 6, 2010

cats, strings and laser pointers

MacTonnies' cat Ebe, an acronym for Extraterrestrial Biological Entity.

The very first posting on this blog (March 3rd 2009) was a short little essay that I had written up years before titled CAT & STRING. It was a nice little metaphor that attempted to articulate some of the weirdness of the UFO mystery, at least the way I see it.

The opening words of Mac Tonnies posthumous book is a short piece about his cats and a laser pointer. It was originally posted as an essay on his blog, Posthuman Blues.

I strongly encourage you to read BOTH essays before you proceed any further. They are linked HERE and HERE. 

These two essays are eerily similar. If you look at the comment’s below my initial posting, you’ll see that Mac said: “Have you read my essay about cats and laser pointers? We're on the same page!”

That was the very first comment I received on this blog, on the very first posting, on the very same day as the blog went up.

Mac's other (very cute) cat, Spook.

My essay was written sometime in November 2006, two months after Mac wrote his. I remember the morning I wrote it. I sat at my computer, and drank a second cup of coffee, and it simply gushed out of me in a caffeine induced flurry, I'm not kidding, it wrote itself. The text was short and tidy, and it seemed to express exactly the mysterious puzzle that plagued me.

The first thing I did, that same morning, was post this essay on Whitley Strieber’s UNKNOWNCOUNTRY message board. I have since tried to find it, but I can’t seem to dig deep enough. If it’s still there, I could figure out the exact date I wrote the thing.

The first time I ever heard of Mac Tonnies was on a really great Binnall of America interview, dated March 10th 2007 (if you haven’t heard this, it’s amazing!). This was seven months after Mac wrote his Cat & Laser Pointer essay, and five months after I wrote my Cat & String version.

I feel confident in saying that I never read Mac’s essay before writing mine.

The similarities are obvious, we are, quite literally, expressing the very same metaphoric details. It’s very funny that Mac, the self-proclaimed post-human technologist uses a laser pointer, as opposed to me, the self-proclaimed thrifty minimalist with a piece of string. Just so y’know, I am a weirdo zealot about the mystical benefits of ultra-light camping.

After listening to the (over three hour) interview with Tim Binnall, I was simply thunderstruck by the voice and ideas of Mac. It was without hesitation that I searched him out. I simply looked up his name and Missouri and called him on the phone. At the time I was involved in a documentary, and I thought he needed to be involved, and the initial phone call was to ask for an interview, but deep down - I just wanted to talk to the guy.

Among all his other gifts, Mac Tonnies was a beautiful conversationalist. We got along splendidly, and from that first phone call to his his death, we would talk on the phone often, and we would email incessantly.

During our initial correspondence, I sent Mac an email with my Cat & String essay. He replied (almost instantly, as was his nature) that he had written something similar, but with a laser pointer. I no longer have a copy of that email, but it must have been some time after March of 2007.

Mac read his Cat & Laser Pointer essay on an audio interview with Greg Bishop on Radio Mysterioso on July 27th of 2009. I am not sure that’s when I first heard it (maybe), but I later found it on his blog. This obviously struck me as very odd.

approx. 11 minutes long

My very playful cat, Spazzy.

Just a few days later, Mac and I had some back and forth emails about that little story.

On July 29th, I asked: When did you write that Cat & Laser Pointer essay? Do you have the date? I'm curious...

Mac replied: I wrote the cat/laser piece a year or so ago -- before your cat/string piece, in case you were wondering. I'm pretty sure I wrote mine in late '06, but I'll double-check. It would be weird if we wrote our essays at the same time!


A few days later Mac emailed me: I found it, and it's dated! I just searched my blog and found mine (Sep, 2006)

I can’t even begin to untangle what, if anything, all of this may mean. Mac said what I was thinking: “It would be weird if we wrote our essays at the same time!” I did a little digging, and we wrote them independently, less than two months apart. If nothing else, I have to agree, it is weird.

It took me a while of digging, but I found the date I wrote my version on the original document, noted here.

My essay Cat and String written:
November 25, 2006

Mac's essay Cat and Laser pointer published on Post-Human Blues:
September 29, 2006

Click HERE to see a very sweet little video of Mac's two cats, complete with endearing baby talk voice-over from Mac himself. Please know, this short clip made me cry.

And more images of Mac's cats HERE.
Also, I made sure to include two cats in the illustration in the previous post below.
Audio essay with Mac's voice, dated Feb 11th 2010

The above is a cartoon posted by Robbie Graham
on his Facebook page on Janurary 28th 2015.


Mike Clelland! said...

This post ended up as sort of rambling. I tried to share all the important points of the "detective" story.

Mike Clelland! said...

I just got off skype with my friend Natascha in Germany. (she is featured in a posting about a balloon)

For some reason (she was just surfing the net) she went thru and read some of my old blog postings, including the cat & string story from 3.3.2009.

She wanted to forward that link to a friend of hers, and she typed in the name of my blog, and todays home page came up, and it was the follow up story (the posting above) and she was confused, because she thought it was the same article she had JUST read. But, it was different.

I tried to figure out the timing, and she must have clicked on the main page just a few minutes (or, literally seconds) after I posted it on-line.

The strange stuff keeps unfolding.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Wow. This is intriguing. But how to condense it??

ToothyGrinMatt said...

That's interesting. If you read any channeled material about when we will make "contact", it's always soon. Soon. It's dangled in front of true believers and those who want to believe.

That in itself is very much like the laser pointer/string.

Some of it "feels" like it is being done with the best and most loving of intentions. And I believe it is.

Maybe in order to see the truth we truly have to look within as childlike as possible.

Many children are able to see beyond the veil. It's so natural it's incorporated into their world seamlessly. It connects together, like synchronicity.

The rest of us are too damn smart 4 that.

Thank you very much for sharing, it's reminding me not to try and decipher this beautiful mystery through an "adults" mind. Too much baggage clogging up the drain.

Be as a child AND use the cunning fluidity of a cat in tandem with a pinch of the adult as compass.

Hmmmm, I like that. it might need some refining, but I like it.



Intense said...

Here's a weird synchronicity for you:

In this post from early December of last year, by Eric Wargo, he notes he too uses a laser pointer on occasion to play with his cat, and also wondered what his cat might be conceptualizing could be going on, the parallels with ufo phenomena and encounters, and then riffs on related topics, and even mentions Mac in passing.

I can only assume he must have read Mac's blog post from a little over three years earlier, consciously forgot it, and then when he did the same process with his cat, resurrected a similar theme into his own blog post without initially realizing it.

Funny to see his reaction when someone commented over a month later about the much earlier post by Tonnies. I have to admit that several years ago, when I used a laser pointer myself with a cat, it also occurred to me that this was analogous to what people might sometimes feel or think when encountering ufo or other anomalous phenomena--Holy crap! Hey, who's playing games with my psyche!? 8^}

Mike Clelland! said...

Intense wrote:
"Holy crap! Hey, who's playing games with my psyche!?"

Mike C replies:
That's just how I feel - Who indeed!

musingegret said...

Hmmmm, the synchros are still abounding. I listened to Binnall's 9/9/09 interview with John Lear yesterday for first time.

Curious about him (John Lear), I googled his name and wound up listening to the 4-part youtube interview of him by Bill Ryan and Kerry Cassidy of Project Camelot. (

**Then** because I was so interested in Bill and Kerry's project and because they kept asking Lear if Richard Hoaglund agreed with him on certain ideas (moon landing, glass domes, etc), I stayed up farrrr-too-late reading the 3 part transcript of their interview with Richard Hoaglund from Dec 2007. Most of the interview covered the information presented in his book "Dark Mission:The Secret History of NASA" which had just been published. Before steeping myself in this int'vw I knew little of the Mars Face or Moon Domes. comes your post today about your and Mac's essays and the link to his interview which I've not heard yet but in reading the blurb I see Mars Face and Richard Hoaglund as included topics!! Whew. Looks like I better start listening---oh drat! gotta get the gumbo started---Geaux Saints!!

P.S. I see you posted this yesterday but I just pulled it up a few mins ago. LOL

musingegret said...

Whoops---just realized I'd misspelled Richard's name. It is Hoagland not Hoaglund! I must have taken that "Viking" description literally!

James said...

I had just made a comment to this post I managed to destroy... and I had made a comment to the previous post re Mac's book in which I included a reference to this post of yours.

I am not sure why just now I decided to refer to that initial posting of yours... except that it is one of your posts that has kind of gotten stuck in my head. It has an 'off-the-cuff' quality while at the same time having a kind of depth and dimension to it that makes you wonder.

I still think it is a rather profound observation. And it is a bit funny that you use a string to accomplish what Mac used a laser pointer to do... and your two posts about this topic are 'eerily similar'! His comment:

"The phenomenon -- whatever its ultimate nature -- obstinately denies itself, thus enabling the very game it's intent on playing with us."

makes me wonder if Catch 22 should be required reading for all citizens of the maze. Well except maybe for the cats... I suspect they already know far too much.

Red Pill Junkie said...

I hadn't read your cat & string essay. It really seems like you and Mac were receiving the same insight.

I'm also very intrigued by the recurrence of cats in the lives of people who are either experimenting these weird events in their lives, or who are deeply invested in understanding them (like Mac).

Whitley Strieber has (or had) cats. He even wrote about taking one of them to a meeting with the Visitors.

Maybe it's nothing too mysterious. I just received an e-mail from my cat-loving friends showing that, according to a study, cat-owners are 'brainier' than dog-owners (I like cats, but I think I'm more of a dog person myself). But this seems to relate more to the fact that cats demand less attention, so they are ideal for workaholics who often are college graduates.

But still, one wonders... are cats part of this surreal puzzle? there's a reason why the Egyptians showed so much to them that they even had them turn into mummies ;)

Mike Clelland! said...

This story got posted on another site called SYNCHRONICITY:

Brizdaz (Darren) said...

I have a block containing about 30 cards of quotes with cartoons of cats in various poses,which accompany the quotes.
This one I thought would be appropriate to this post.

It has a cat ripping up what looks like a rug into bits of fibers and says ;
"There is always certain peace in being what one is,in being that completely." Ugo Betti

guest said...

Cats understand that the string is being animated by the person attached to it. If you attach that string to some automated mechanism, the cat will quickly lose interest. I've done that experiment.

The string game is not really about the string. It's about the two players.

It's the same with the laser pointer, once the cat makes the connection between the pointer and the dot. There are two at play, the one chasing and the one directing the chase.