Whoa! Where Have I been?

I’ve been really bad about blogging lately.  What is my deal?  I have no excuse.  I’ m going to make a concerted effort to get back into the swing of things, and return to a regular schedule.  Here’s what’s on my mind:

  1. We learned almost nothing from the first week of college football.  It’s always so disappointing when it comes around every year. We wait for it.  Anticipating every tackle, pass and bone-jarring hit.  And, we get some of that, but we also get ridiculous blowouts.  Ugly, ugly, ugly football.  We did learn that Boise State is for real.  They’re still going to get left out of the BCS title game even if they win the rest of their games.  That old adage that the current system is great because every game counts isn’t true.  Boise’s win over Va. Tech didn’t matter one bit.  I’d love to be wrong, but I’m fairly sure I’m not.  We also learned that Florida is in some serious trouble.  I was astonished they were ranked so high because they lost one of the greatest college football players to ever play the game. I’m saying this as a Tennessee fan.  You gotta figure that will at least drop you out of the top 10.  They’re going to lose a few games this year.
  2. I watched the Destination Truth season premiere episode.  It was okay.  Josh was Josh and the jokes were chuckle worthy, but I have a question.  What is up with replacing one hot chick with another hot chic every season?  Is the show a way for Josh to meet women?
  3. What’s up with all these idiots who want to burn the Quran?  I really thought we were past that kind of bigotry in this country.  It appears they called it off, but who would purpose that kind of thing in the first place.
  4. I’m reading a book on UFOs by Leslie Kean.  She’s basically collected “authentic” sightings by pilots, military personnel and government officials.   The interesting part of the book is that they aren’t really trying to make the case that they’re alien spacecraft.  They’re simply saying that there is something unidentified in the skies.  They’ve been tracked on radar, observed by trained pilots and even involved in combat maneuvers with a few military planes.   The US is the only major government that won’t officially acknowledge their existence.  In fact, they created a committee in the 40’s to come up with a plan to respond and investigate UFO sightings.  Their plan?  They developed a process on how to discredit reports.
  5. Along those lines, I watched the movie The Fourth Kind last week, and I don’t know how to feel about it.  The filmmaker lied to the audience.  He represented fiction as fact.  The premise of the movie is that over a twenty year period or so, 25 people disappeared in Nome, Alaska.  The filmmaker created a scenario where there was a therapist treating patience who were the victims of alien abductions.  He mixed in “actual audio recordings” and “real video footage.”  That’s all fine and good, but none of it was actual or real.  It was all created for the movie.
  6. Don’t worry.  I haven’t turned into a UFO/Alien freak.  I’m just doing research for a new book.

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Which Paranormal & Cryptozoology TV Shows Make the Grade?

The Coolest Show About Crazy Crap!

The Coolest Show About Crazy Crap!

Television is full of “investigative” shows about the paranormal and the world of cryptozoology these days.  Not surprisingly, most of them are laughably bad, but a couple of them are worth the couch time it takes to watch them.  Here’s my rundown of the most talked about.

Ghost AdventuresTravel Channel: This is almost so schmaltzy and corny it’s worth watching.  The main adventurer is Zak Bagans.  Zak’s shirts are as small as his ego is big.  Together with two other guys who seem to be relatively well-balanced, he takes the viewers on an hour long ghostly journey filled with startled looks and stifled screams.  Zak’s favorite line in every show is “Shhhh, Oh my God, Dude, did you hear that?”  The last show I saw they heard what was pretty clearly a cat meowing, and he proclaimed with a wide-eyed gaze, “Dude, that’s a child screaming.”  The other two, intimidated by his bulging biceps popping out of his t-shirt, readily agreed.

Paranormal StateA&E: The Paranormal Research Society was founded by Ryan Buell when he was a student at Penn State.  Like anyone with an expensive college education, he parlayed his unique ghost hunting skills into a cable network television show.  He’s the Joe Friday of ghost investigators, very serious and dour.  The show includes dramatic cutaways of him recording his “director’s log,” and specially built high-tech ghost hunting equipment that you won’t see on any other program.   The group encounters a lot of demons and nasty ghosts… and what probably are some psychologically confused people who have been possessed and harassed by these unseen forces.  The real scary part here is instead of getting counseling, they’re getting exorcised by a Nittany Lion and his investigative crew.

Ghost Hunters InternationalSyFy: Believe it or not, this is a spin-off ghost hunting show.  Robb Demarest heads up a team of skeptics to investigate hauntings outside of the US.  Like their parent show, Ghost Hunters, the team sets out to find logical explanations for ghostly activity.  The best and worst thing I can say about the show is that it is bland.  They had a crazy guy on the first season who kind of made things interesting because you got the feeling he would snap at any moment, but he left and took all the potential drama with him.  The show tries, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Monsterquest History Channel: This is not a ghost show.  This show is focused on cryptid-creatures. There are no stars here… unless you count the narrator.  The show would have made the top of my list but they always claim to have made significant discoveries at the end of the show, when they actually didn’t uncover anything at all.  The interviews are good.  The production is top notch, and the science is real (unlike the ghost hunting shows).  But they never come to any conclusions.  It frustrates the hell out me.

Ghost HuntersSyFy:  This is the best of the ghost investigation shows and it is the show from which Ghost Hunters International spun.  It features a pair of plumbing partners, Jay and Grant, who work as ghost hunters at night.  They call themselves TAPS, which I believe stands for The Atlantic Paranormal Society.  They’ve assembled a highly likeable team of investigators who enjoy their job.  Jay and Grant are just a couple of regular guys who have a real fascination with ghosts.  As much as you can be, they are experts in all ghostly matters.  They are the Woodward and Bernstein of the ghost hunting community, and if such a thing exists in the paranormal world, they give their profession credibility.

Destination TruthSyFy:  This is a show that combines the best of cryptozoology and the best of the paranormal.  The star of the show is Josh Gates who’s part adventurer, part comedian, part Jim Halpert from The Office with his caddish looks into the camera.  Josh and his team seem to get the joke.  They know that 99% of everything they investigate is complete nonsense that can be logically explained.  The fun of the show comes from that one percent of the time when they have absolutely no explanation, when even they must concede that something beyond the known world is going on.  You get the sense that they aren’t just having a good time.  They are professionals who move in like a highly trained tactical team to peel away the confusion and gather evidence.  The show gets extra bonus points for making Jael DePardo part of the team.  Like I always say, if you’re going to stomp through the woods on a cold and gloomy night looking for unknown creatures and/or spirits, bring a cute girl.

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