Those ancient astronauts? Maybe our ancestors killed ‘em | Street Jazz

Those ancient astronauts? Maybe our ancestors killed ‘em

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And then maybe they ate them.

So I was feeding my mind the other night after midnight, when I was unable to sleep and couldn’t concentrate on my book, with the musings of “Ancient Astronaut Theorists” - as the History Channel is so fond of calling them. I’ve written about this crowd before, so I won’t bore you overmuch, but I was struck by the insistence of some of the “Theorists” that the astronauts used the “ley lines” on the earth to help navigate their craft.

Because, you know, they could fly across the galaxy, but somehow needed help flying around a planet.

Ley lines, for those who don’t think about them any more, are mystical lines and boundaries in the earth. Back in the olden days, folks used to talk about the ley lines that went through Fayetteville.

So then we move on to things like the Great Wall of China, and the markings on the ground in other parts of the world, and pyramids and some such. Well, opined more than one “theorist” - yeah, I’m gonna put quotation marks around that word where they are concerned - that the folks in the ships just had to look out the windows of the craft, and, what do you know? They knew where they where!

No radar or scanners for these folks. All they had to do was look out the window.

To be fair, I actually this demonstrated on TV once - in an episode of Irwin Allen’s Time Tunnel, when our heroes were trapped on board an alien space ship. The aliens looked out their porthole, saw earth, and then it was like, “Hey, there’s Earth, break out the invasion gear!”

There are those who speak longingly of the day when the aliens who taught us so much will return. You know, the aliens who hung out with ancient folks who engaged in torture, rape, mass murder, and cruelty to children.

But we learned so much from our alien friends, claim the “Ancient Astronaut Theorists.”

Oh, yeah?

Well, maybe we also learned the fine art of torture from our alien “friends.” Maybe every twisted practice we like to gloss over when think about ancient peoples was introduced by aliens with a peculiar sense of humor. “Sure, we’ll teach ‘em math, so they can figure out how many people they have killed this harvest season.”

And these “theorists” speak in rapturous tones about the possible return of our space friends.

Well, I don’t think they’re coming back. I think we killed them.

Actually, there may be some evidence of this theory, which is no more cockamamie than those you see on the History/Military/Green/Science Channels. I think people around the globe decided that, hey, if sacrificing ordinary people was okay with the gods, why not sacrifice somebody really special?

Boy, would they have been in for a big surprise.

All things considered, it probably couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys.

******

American Gothic: Better the myth than the reality

Sometimes there are series that only last a handful of episodes, and yet their stories are sung around the campfires of the faithful as long there are cold winter nights, and the young need to be reminded that true horror can still exist on American television - other than having to be a guest on the Bill O’Reilly show, that is.

American Gothic was a short-lived series that ran on CBS (1995-96), that has built up a terrific reputation over the years, both deserved and undeserved.

Created by Shawn Cassidy of The Hardy Boys fame, and produced by Sam Raimi (Spider-man) it was the story of orphan Caleb Temple (Lucas Black The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), and his relationship with town sheriff Lucas Buck (Gary Cole - Midnight Caller ), who may or may not be the boy’s father, and who may be the Devil.

Throughout 22 episodes, Sheriff Buck attempted to not only adopt Caleb (for he might actually be his father) but also corrupt the young boy, and truly make him his own. And truth be told, to a certain extent he was successful. Of course, it isn’t just young Caleb that Buck wants to corrupt; he’s out to seduce and tempt the entire damned town.

And a truly damned town it is, my friends.

I only watched a couple of episodes when it originally aired, though many friends have told me about the series over the years. Rummaging through the racks at the local Hastings last year, I decided to see what all the hoopla was about.

The fictional world of Trinity, South Carolina, is the reason that most people should stick to the Interstate, and not take the road less traveled. Because in this case, the road leads straight into a gothic hell, where, even if Lucas Buck didn’t have satanic powers, he’s still the sort of small-town lawman who rules with an iron fist.

And if you mess with him, you get messed with back.

Buck’s attempts to corrupt the young boy are continually being blocked by Caleb’s sister, Merlyn, who was murdered by the good sheriff. Now a ghost, she also appeals to the boy’s conscience, though her job is harder as the series goes on.

Another potential force for good in Caleb’s life is his cousin, Gail Emory, though she drifts into an affair with Lucas Buck which makes absolutely so sense at all, given that she openly despises him and wants to rescue Lucas from him. Also trying to help is Doctor Crower (Jake Weber - Medium), but his character is disposed off midway through the season.

Though I prefer watching DVD collections to watching series on network television, you have to understand a few things going in. Series are meant to watched once a week; when you watch two or three episodes a week, their flaws begin to show up in ways that you can’t ignore.

And in a series which only ran one season, and switched direction drastically half-way through, those flaws are close to impossible to ignore.

Characters are not consistent from one episode to another, and plot lines are developed that seem to be dropped altogether. When you get to the third DVD in the set you discover why this is so - a number of episodes were never actually shown, but were added to the DVD collection. How nice it would have been the shows had been put in the order they were meant to be watched in, rather than the order they were shown in. The series would make a lot more sense to the casual viewer.

But even if the episodes were seen in the proper order, the truth is that the series seems to fall apart near the end of its run. New writers seemed to come on board who seemed to have no feel for the characters, or even what had happened before.

It felt as though they were re-inventing the series half-way through its first season. As a result, the last half of the season is a terrible mishmash of stories. But even as floundering as the final episodes were, they ere almost always saved by the tag-team of Gary Cole and Lucas Black, who never deliver anything less than excellent work.

My advice: If you do buy American Gothic, just watch the first DVD in the collection. You’ll be happier that way.

Trivia note: Even though American DVD buyers have to watch the episodes and try figure out what goes where, German purchasers were able to buy the collection as they were meant to be watched, with the episodes assembled in the right order.

*****

Quote of the Day

Most people would rather defend to the death your right to say it than listen to it. - Robert Brault

rsdrake@cox.net

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