Probed By A Space Alien

Water found on Mars, could there be life in that water?  If there is it won’t look like us, but somewhere out there in the universe could there be walking talking life forms similar to us?  Some are convinced the answer is yes because they’ve seen the space ships carrying the aliens, and a few have even met the aliens.  I interviewed some of these eyewitnesses many years ago for a series on UFO’s.  In part 2 meet the man who was probed, for medical study, by aliens.

Visitors from Another Planet

Look Up! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a UFO.  I may never have seen one, but I’ve met many seemingly sane people who say they have.  I’ve also interviewed a few people who told me they were visited by space aliens, and even encountered a couple of folks who claimed they were in fact themselves visitors from another planet.  Years ago I put some of these stories in a three part series on UFO’s.  Here’s part one on UFO sightings.  Parts 2 & 3 only get weirder.  Stay tuned.

Sad Songs & Drinking

When you’re feeling down, do you find yourself listening to sad songs?  Does sad music pick you up or does it help by letting you really wallow in your misery?  Maybe the lyrics help by giving words to your pain and being able to express your feelings speeds the recovery.  I don’t know if sad songs offer any help at all, but a University of Minnesota study I read several years ago concluded that listening to slow sad country music did result in people drinking more.

When I heard about the Minnesota research more than twenty years ago I decided to do my own research in the capitol of sad country songs, Nashville.  On one memorable afternoon at Tree Publishing a group of Tree’s greatest songwriters showed up to play and sing some of their saddest songs for me.  The drinking research I did later that night in the bars of Nashville, but that afternoon of music was incredible.  In the room were Roger Miller, Red Lane, Bobby Braddock, Kix Brooks, pre-Brooks & Dunn days, and two other writers whose names I’ve since forgotten.

I wish had had the outtakes from that day when each of the guys sang their sad song hits and told a lot of funny stories.   Those tapes are unfortunately lost to time, but I did find the story and thought it worth posting.

The Devil Made Me Do It

A toaster possessed by the devil, a man saved from drowning in an icy lake by his Howdy Doody dummy, and a woman who claims to have had sex with space aliens for several years.  They are all part of a story on supermarket tabloids I did for the Today Show 28 years ago.  Now in a column for Gawker, Neetzan Zimmerman calls the devil toaster the best interview in the history of TV.  Here’s how she described the story.

“If you’ve been sitting around for the past 27 years waiting to witness the greatest moment in television history, I’ve got some bad news: You missed it.

In May 1984, The Today Show aired what can unarguably be described as the greatest televised interview ever: Legendary Weekly World News reporter and future Jerry Springer Show executive producer Richard Dominick‘s sit-down with a woman whose toaster was possessed by the Devil.

Suffice it to say, the year this segment didn’t win every journalism award is the year every journalism award became irrelevant.”

I wouldn’t go that far, calling it the best in the history of tv interviews, but it was very funny.  I may have to dig out some of my other old tabloid pieces and post them as well, but in the meantime here’s the complete story talked about in Gawker with all 3 interviews, including the devil toaster in action.

Tracking Leopards & Lions

Just because leopards and lions live in a wildlife park in Africa doesn’t mean you’ll see them if you visit that park.  These big cats are very good at hiding when they don’t want to be found, and at disappearing into the bush right in front of your eyes.  But thanks to the skills of guides and trackers at the Londolozi Game reserve in South Africa we had some very good encounters with both leopards and lions.  For my radio show National Geographic Weekend, Londolozi guide Helen Young explains how they find the big cats.

Gospel Music for a Sunday Morning

I shoot a lot of video and have for years.  I was even shooting video before there was video.  When I began filming, it was actually on film.  A lot of the filming I’ve done is for work, but most of the time when I pick up a camera, it’s for myself.  From the time I was a young kid I’ve been making home movies or documenting scenes from life as it happens around me.  Technically what I do can’t be called making home movies, because the word movie implies a finished product that people can watch with a story line that tells them what it is they are watching.  Most of what I’ve shot sits unedited on reels or on video tapes in boxes and on shelves waiting for the day when I finally edit the raw material and turn it into a movie.  My family jokes whenever I break out a camera, that by the time they see any of the pictures they will be so much older they won’t even recognize themselves.

I bring this up because I’m forced to sit at home for a couple of weeks while I recover from rotator cuff surgery. With my right arm in a sling, I can’t pick up a camera and shoot anything new, but I can sit at the computer and do some one handed editing, so no more excuses, it’s time to edit some of those old tapes. I began with something I shot last spring in L.A.  One night a group of friends and I were hanging out at the home of gospel singer and songwriter, Andrae Crouch, just like we did twenty years ago.  And like twenty years ago, Andrae was at the piano playing and singing, making up new songs when we would challenge him with a title to see if he could create lyrics and a melody on the spot.  I previously posted one of those songs on my web page and on my you tube channel.  It was a funny little tune Andrae made up about me and how he wanted me to loan him some money.

But Andrae was also singing some of the gospel songs he’s written.  On this evening he played one of his more recent hymns or choruses called, “Let the Church Say Amen.”  The lyrics are simple and the melody has the kind of easy catchy hook that makes it instantly familiar like you’ve heard it all your life, a key element of successful songwriting.  As Andrae is singing some of the ladies in the room soon join in creating a spontaneous gospel performance.

As I often do, I had my cameras with me and recorded the moment.  And now I’ve taken advantage of my recovery time to edit the video.  I put it together for my own enjoyment and for the other people who were at Andrae’s house that night, but after listening to the song, I’ve decided there may be some fans of gospel music or Andrae Crouch who would enjoy this home movie as well.