Letter from the Editor: Watch This Space

Company's here...from outer space.

As I think about the forces that shook up our planet in 2017—the rise of Trump and his tweets, the simmering North Korea problem, sexual harassment revelations, devastating hurricanes, terrorism, among them—I’m left wondering this:

What would Oumuamua think?

Or I should say, what would the people/creatures/beings that might be piloting Oumuamua think? What? You haven’t heard? Oumuamua is a cigar-shaped asteroid that is passing through our solar system, the first observed object from interstellar space to do so. Its odd shape—a quarter-mile long and about 130 feet wide—has experts buzzing about the possibility that the space rock is really an alien ship or probe, with at least one speculating that its tumbling motion through the void may be because its engines are broken (hey, think about that extended warranty next time). This is not fake news: As I write this, scientists have a radio telescope aimed at Oumuamua (the Hawaiian word for “messenger’’) so that they can pick up any signals that might indicate intelligent signs of life.

And, if they exist, what would those intelligent signs think of our topsy-turvy world? Well, based on this issue, they would find our little piece of the planet an intriguing, welcoming place.

Orlando has untold numbers of Community Angels—not space travelers but those who do good works on Earth, from acting as foster parents to helping the homeless, to restoring power for hurricane victims. We have eight stories about them. Our visitors from outer space also might find it interesting that a local visionary named Randy Robertson stages an annual symposium called GladdeningLight focusing on the intersection of spirituality and art. That event is coming up in late January. Then there’s our semi-annual wedding guide, showcasing that longtime earthly custom with stories on everything from choosing reception entertainment to gifts for guests. Plus, we have the “Story of a…Locksmith,’’ whose line of work might seem a primitive concept to interstellar arrivals but is a godsend to us humans.

And finally, there’s the opportunity to choose favorites in our annual Dining Awards poll, where readers can vote for the best restaurants on Earth, er…in Orlando. Ballots can be cast at orlandomagazine.com. You need a valid email or address to vote, and our visitors obviously don’t have that. At least not yet. But who knows what will have happened by the time you read this? If Oumuamua comes in peace and needs a place to land, why not here, why not now? I can tell you that if they exist, these beings are probably major, super-super classy guys. So I say, dial back that 196,000 mph speed and come on in.

Just watch out for the nighttime lane closures on I-4

Barry.Glenn@orlandomagazine.com

Categories: Column