Thursday, May 18, 2006


c. 2006 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

"All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance. "
- Will Rogers

Like most Americans, I grew up with notions of God and Country that were unshaken by winds of fortune. To be grounded in this rich, philosophical loam was a privilege. It offered security, and a sturdy sense of self-worth. Yet maturity inevitably aroused questions. What could I believe? After generous doses of Art Bell, Alex Jones, and The X-Files, I began to ponder reality itself. My skeptical cousin, Gertrude Ice, spoke strongly to such thoughts with her own energetic cynicism. We shared many discussions about the unsure nature of domestic life. And then… THE TUBE FARM began to appear, not far from my home in Thompson.

Casually, The News-Herald reported that this strange creation was an environmental project. They asserted that each slender length of white plastic shielded a young tree. At first, the explanation seemed unquestionably logical. But when I repeated the tale, Gertrude scoffed at my intellectual weakness. She was certain that I had been duped by a clever publicity scam. Her admonition resounded for days after it had been spoken: "Think Beyond The Obvious!"
I went red after her criticism. It felt humbling to be chided by my junior cousin. How could I have been so careless? Immediately, my search for authentic truth began. Before long, a surprising stream of information had opened, through the household PC. I read with interest, and an open mind:

BURTON DAILY BUGLE – "First, they wanted to paint a stack of pancakes on the water tower in our quaint village. Now, our geographical neighbor to the east has been chosen for a ground-level solar collector. After a new state energy bill signed by Governor Robert Taft, work began in Ashtabula County on a plan to harvest totally ‘green’ energy. The ‘Luminosity Field’ is being constructed in cooperation with Case Western Reserve University. Professor Brenda Knurl reckons the potential yield of this idea could be huge: ‘Each tube is like an antenna. It gathers light, which we convert into electrical voltage. Think of them like cells in a battery. When linked together, the result will be a non-polluting energy source that can power communities across Ohio.’ Rep. Steve LaTourette is a major supporter of the plan. Volunteers to help erect tubes may call 216-762-0001 for more information."

NORTHCOAST ONLINE – "Thom Peskala is a farmer. But more importantly, he is a patriot. So after hearing the song ‘Have You Forgotten’ by Darryl Worley, he decided to create a personal memorial for those lost on 9-11. The design he used is a simple, yet elegant statement – white, vinyl tubes to collect sunlight for each life that was taken on that awful day. Visitors have begun to appear at the Ashtabula County field with their own remembrances. Flowers, ribbons, and notes are scattered throughout the rural display. Says Peskala: ‘I’m just glad to see neighbors coming together.’ Cards from New York to California have appeared at the site. A delegation from Chardon, including members of the City Council, laid a tribute wreath at the site entrance. Peskala is scheduled to appear on ‘The Today Show’ with Matt Lauer, next week."

GEAUGA INQUISITOR – "Just beyond the eastern border of this county, something strange began happening in April. Local residents noticed white tubes beginning to appear in open land divided by Rock Creek Road. To many, it seemed an odd way to celebrate the solstice. But for those in the area, it was the culmination of long-term puzzlement. Defense Department vehicles have been seen here for almost two years. Internet hawks like Matt Drudge have frequently written about a subterranean complex being constructed in Ashtabula County. But now… evidence above ground made the story very real. As the tubes multiplied, so did wild rumors. Footville Mayor Geoff Barnes was candid about this secretive undertaking: ‘The plan was started after President Bush won re-election in 2004. Not long ago, he stopped at the site after speaking in Cleveland. I’ve never met so many government people in my life! Even Governor Taft visited last fall. But workers have been careful not to attract attention.’ Barnes says he was told that the tubes are venting gas produced by underground testing. Somehow, The Plain Dealer and local television have missed the story, completely. They were all preoccupied with echoing details about Natalie Holloway. But THE INQUISITOR was on this story, immediately!"

THOMPSON EXPRESS-TRIBUNE – "The township received national attention last year, when ‘Bulldozer Man’ William L. Armstrong went on a drunken rampage. Now, the nearby farmland of Ashtabula County has achieved popular renown thanks to ‘COAST-TO-COAST AM.’ Radio host George Noory recently offered a story about the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) program having laid out a huge ‘message field’ which is visible from an altitude of several thousand miles. The mathematical pattern was determined from a computer survey of all the Earth’s major languages. It says, simply: WELCOME. Frequent guest Richard C. Hoagland explained that the greeting would be universally recognizable by any sort of alien beings. On his own site ( this compelling space expert details the overall project layout, and possible ET responses we might expect to receive."

THE EMPORIUM MENU & NEWSLETTER - "Respect for native culture has been a hallmark of Ohio for many years. Now, Pastor Clive Pfennig of The Hartsgrove United Methodist Church has joined with Chief Thundercloud of The Buckeye Tribal Eldership to promote understanding and goodwill. Together, they have revived an ancient tradition – the ‘prayer grove.’ Familiar to both indigenous people and early settlers, this method of meditation and worship involves painting the requests on a stick (or in this case, writing them on cloth concealed in a bio-degradable tube) which is erected to aim toward the sky. Each marker represents an individual message to The Great Spirit."

Though my investigation yielded more questions than answers, I felt glad to have reconsidered this local oddity. It proved the worth of careful study and scientific analysis. Moreover, Cousin Gertrude was impressed. She cheered the exercise with a familiar exclamation: "The Truth Is Out There!"