Saturday, September 25, 2010


I've been on a documentary kick lately.  The other night I watched Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine and last night I watched a remarkable new film called I Know What I Saw.  The latter of the two may be the best documentary on UFO's I've ever seen.  I've never been a conspiracy freak, really (although I am convinced there were at least two gunmen in Dallas in November of 63), but the documentary last night was difficult to dismiss.  Unlike other UFO documentaries, this one was quite convincing.  What's more, it didn't depend on eyewitnesses named Bubba that live in the woods of Kentucky or Mississippi who claim to have been anally probed.  It had some very compelling evidence from respected sources worldwide including France's equivilancy of NASA which went on record as saying, without any doubt, the planet had been visited by extraterrestrials. 

The photographic evidence was not as strong, of course, as the testimonials, including a rather convincing one from the actual governor of Arizona, who apparently along with half the city of Flagstaff witnessed a five minute UFO sighting a few years back that simply cannot, under any circumstances, be explained.  Another interesting moment came when former President Jimmy Carter said, "Well, we just don't know what they are.  But something's going on."

Stronger also than the photographic evidence were the unmistakable radar tracks that indicated an object "at least a mile wide" visited an area of Texas in 2008.  In one segment an entire military facility outside London not only had the radar evidence but at least 80 military observers seeing an alien spacecraft on the ground in 1997.  Even the C.O. of the facility, a now retired full-bird colonial, was in attendance and actually TOUCHED the spacecraft as it was hovering a foot off the ground for about a half hour in full view of an entire platoon of soldiers.

Fascinating stuff, really.  I, myself, have never seen an UFO.  Nor have I ever experienced anything the least bit paranormal in my life.  Although I wish I could say I had.  Not counting a few directors and theatre producers that didn't seem to be human.  But that's another story.

We also watched Supersize Me a few nights back.  Personally, I was really envious of that guy that ate at McDonald's for a full month even though he gained twenty pounds and had serious health issues over it.  Unlimited Big Macs for me, anyway, would be a slice of Nirvana.

And next week I start at the beginning of my favorite documentary ever, Ken Burns' The Civil War. 

I have been a Civil War nerd for many years.  I've visited a good number of the actual battlefields including Gettysburg twice.  I've spent dozens and dozens of entire weekends refighting many of the great battles with a group of like-minded nerds in Missouri, New York and Chicago.  We play the old board games. Not to be confused with Risk or Battleship, these are serious board games with instruction manuals roughly the size of a novel.  Games invented and sold by companies like Avalon Hill or Strategy and Tactics.  If you have never heard of these companies, you probably don't realize the complexity of these games.  I once refought The Battle of Shiloh for three non-stop days with four other nerds stopping only to eat and sleep briefly.  I loved every second.

So I'm mightily looking forward to seeing Ken Burns' The Civil War again.  I think the last time I watched the whole thing (it's about nine hours long, I think) was back in 1994.  It's an enormously detailed and moving account of that titanic conflict. 

One of my favorite documentaries ever (actually, one of favorite films of ANY sort ever) is called When We Were Kings about the 1974 fight between then champion George Foreman and the irrepressible Muhammad Ali.  A little piece of magic happened that night in late October in the sweltering jungles of the former Belgian Congo.  Muhammad Ali accomplished the impossible and beat a man seemingly unbeatable.  While not the best fight I've ever seen (that title goes to The Thrilla in Manilla between Frazier and Ali in The Phillipines in 1975) it is easily the most exciting.  It reveals the birth of the 'rope a dope,' conceived by Ali on the spot as the only way to defeat the savagely brutal Foreman, only 24 at the time as opposed to Ali's 31.  And in case you're wondering, in the big leagues of heavyweight fighting, 31 is considered ancient.  The entire fight was surrounded with the mystery, voodoo and uncivilized aura of the dark continent.  I would have given anything to have been there. 

In fact, a play of mine, Bachelor's Graveyard, has a passage in the middle of it, a three page monologue, that describes the fight in glorious detail.  It is one of my favorite pieces of writing.  I gotta get that play done someday.

The temperatures have soared again in The San Fernando Valley in The City of Angels.  We're expecting three digit temps for the next few days, in fact.  Just when I thought it was over. 

Off with Angie for our morning constitutional soon.  It's still cool enough to walk a bit at this early hour.  I find it helps to clear the head and separate the important from the unimportant, these early morning jaunts.  Plus my doctor says it's the thing to do since I've been diagnosed with 'The Silent Killer.'  But more than that, it helps me focus.  And God knows, I need all the focus I can get.

See you tomorrow.