March . . . All This and Days Too!

March . . . All This and Days Too!

When I took a look at month of February for one of last month’s Smirks I was so amused by what I learned that I thought it might be fun to dedicate one Smirk a month this year to learning a little more about each month. So for the first Smirk of March, why not share what I learned about this month, the only month of the year that can be a verb as well as a noun.

When it comes to March, I’ve always assumed that there is some type of Irish theme associated with it due to St. Patrick’s Day being in the middle of it. Turns out I was right because March is Irish-American Heritage Month. Of course it not just Irish-American Heritage Month, they do have to share it with others. As it turns out March is also:

  • National Kidney Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • Women’s History Month
  • Greek-American Heritage Month
  • National Brain Injury Awareness Month
  • Endometriosis Awareness Month
  • Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
  • Self-Harm Awareness Month
  • National Essential Tremor Awareness Month
  • “Help Fight Liver Disease” Month
  • Red Cross Month
  • National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
  • National Epilepsy Month
  • Supply Management Month

A few of those make perfect sense, but only after you juxtapose them with St. Patrick’s Day and the mass consumption of alcohol as the only acceptable ways to correctly celebrate the day. Drinking can do a number to your kidneys and liver, so having the month dedicated to both kidneys and liver disease makes perfect sense.

The same can be said for brain injury and self-harm. Next to New Years, I would assume St. Patrick’s Day has the second highest cumulative loss of brain cells in the span of a twenty-four hour period than any other holiday celebrated each year. And I imagine the amount of harm people do to themselves due to the mass consumption of green beer and dressing up like leprechauns is higher this month than any other month of the year as well.

Apart from an entire month of awareness or celebration towards one specific theme, some themes feel that all they really need is just a week for make their mark spreading awareness to the world. The 4th -10th of March is National Social Work Week. In honor of this week I’ve been working on my social skills by memorizing one clean joke for every dirty one I like to share in social settings. The 12th-18th is Brain Awareness Week, and I’ve already got my zombie costume pulled out of storage and ready to go. Today starts National Sleep Awareness Week, so in honor of this week I shall be taking a nap every single day from now until the 11th. This week is going to be kick ass. The 13th starts World Rotaract Week, which has something to do with Rotary clubs, which is a club where a group of people helps others and not a club that rotates . . . and no I will not admit that I had to look that up.

There are a few days this month that I found to be points of interest as well.

  • 6 – World Glaucoma Day – You would think that this would happen during Marijuana Awareness Month (February in case you were wondering).
  • 8 – International Women’s Day
  • 14 – Pi Day – I’m going to get blueberry! (Insert smiley face here.)
  • 22 – World Water Day
  • 23 – World Meteorological Day
  • 24 – World Tuberculosis Day
  • 26 – Purple Day
  • 31 – World Backup Day

I guess the nice thing is, if I decide to actually pay attention to any of those days at least I’ll know what I’ll be wearing for two days this month. I am a little stoked about it being Greek-American Heritage Month as well; it’s a great excuse to get gyros at least once a week this month for dinner, because I do love a good gyro.

I hope you enjoyed this March Awareness Smirk, and maybe, apart from drinking something green on the same day you dress in something green, you’ll get a little more out of March this year than years past, but regardless if you do or don’t, Cheers! And a Happy March to you all.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords:March, Women’s History Month, sleep at work, and Pi Day.

Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy

I am Number Four – A Smirk Movie Review

I am Number Four – A Smirk Movie Review

This is a feature I have not done for over a year and one of the few that actually falls in the fiction category of things I write, for my blog anyway. Truth is, I think about doing this at least once every few weeks, but I always end up Smirking about something completely different. So today I figured “why not” and decided to create a new Smirk installment of a Made-up Movie Review. The rules are quite simple, I search the internet to find a movie that is coming out this weekend, which I will probably never see, unless I lose a bet or… no, I really do think that is the only reason I’d be found watching some of these movies… oh wait, that or unless they do a RiffTrax for the film, which is actually how I ended up watching Twilight.

After I find the film of expected avoidance, I then watch the preview for the film. I make a note of one or two lines, preferable taken out of context and write a complete review of the movie that is in no way related to the actual film… in short, I write something I know nothing about. So for today’s made up movie review, I give you “I am Number Four.”

The first concern I had with this film was its title. You know it is time to worry when the movie won’t even invest enough in the story to get names for the main characters. Although I will say that the studio was kind enough to start with Four as opposed to One, Two, or Three. Right off the bat we are informed that One, Two, and Three are already dead… sweet! In one sentence we have managed to skip an entire trilogy all ending in exactly the same way. So what makes Four so much better than his three predecessors? The simple fact that Four is very much alive.

Four, a teenager, who is played by a twenty-seven year old waiter in LA, finds himself is a small town in Ohio with no real connection or memory of his past. He lives with his legal guardian, played by Bruce Campbell, who watches over him and constantly reminds him that knowing about his past in not important. He uses a lot of hand puppets to get Four to open up and talk about his feelings. Each of these conversations ending with Bruce telling Four that feelings are not important, thus confusing Four as to why Bruce’s puppet friends wanted to talk about them in the first place. This causes Four to run out of the house in a rage of teenage angst.

As the days pass, Four begins to realize that he is not like the other teenagers. No teenager knows how it feels to feel out of place, without anyone to talk to, and on top of it all he has a crush on the popular girl who moved there from Arizona, but is really only interested in chiseled supernatural beings; all of whom seem to be on the same decoration committee for the prom. That weekend, as Four is spending it alone, having a John Hughes movie marathon, older men in black SUVs and wearing sunglasses at night, show up and try to kill him.

Bruce charges in with a chainsaw in one hand and a rifle in the other, and is quickly tazed, leaving him incapacitated and instantly forgotten about. As the men in sunglasses close in circling around Four, Sex… I mean Six, jumps into the middle of the action in a sexy, yet awesome stop motion pose, that we really only enjoyed once when we first saw the Matrix, and as her hand hits the ground palm down, all the men in sunglasses simultaneously fly into the air and are knocked unconscious as they hit the ground. As she spins her head around to look at Four she tosses the hair out of her eyes and says, “I’m Six.” Yes the sex interest in I am Number Four is named Six. Apparently someone thought it would be clever to have the name of the love interest and the main thing Four wants from the love interest to be separated by only one vowel.

“Yes you are,” retorts Four, “and sixy as hell.”

Six smiles, clearly accepting and encouraging this type of verbal banter, which lets us know that the rest of the film will be filled with sexual tension between the two and that the rest of the dialogue between them be filled with this style of banter, which never gets old ever… especially if you are fourteen boy and consider the Six/sex bit to be most brilliant play on words you have ever experienced in your entire life.

As Six and Four flee for their lives, Six informs Fours that he is not alone in the world. There are more people out there with numbers for names. Unfortunately there is a deranged evil leader guy of power that has created a task force dedicated to eradicating individuals who have a number for a name, explaining that One, Two and Three have already fallen victim to this evil group.

As the misunderstood teens continue to run, hide, get surrounded by men in sunglasses, and narrowly escape, Four begins to learn that he, along with having a number for a name, has super mutant powers… and a lot of them. The two decide to seek sanctuary at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and begin making their way to New York State. Six attempts to help Four gain control of his powers. Surprisingly Four keeps failing, and complains the whole time that it’s really hard and he just can’t do it.

Then, just five miles away from Xavier’s School, all the men in sunglasses and the evil leader guy show up in a deserted town for a final showdown. As Four attempts to use his powers, failing once again, Six attempts to save the day… and Four. She is quickly incapacitated by the evil leader guy, who, against all expectation, has his own superpowers that he’s been hiding from everyone until this very moment.

Just as evil leader guy is about to blow up Six using all of his superpowers, Bruce appears charging in with a chainsaw in one hand and a rifle in the other, and is quickly tazed, leaving him incapacitated and instantly forgotten about. This delays the evil leader guy just long enough for Four to leap in and push Six out of harm’s way, knocking her unconscious in the process. For the first time of the entire movie Four is on his own and against all possible expectation the superpower blast from evil leader guy somehow does nothing to Four except fully awaken his own powers. This allows Four to save the day by unleashing all his powers in only the way a misunderstood, chemically imbalanced, angry, horny, teenage boy who only wants a little peace and quiet so he can try to make-out with a hot chick, can… he kills everyone around him except for the girl.

As all of the men in sunglasses run in random directions, burning alive, and the evil leader guy’s head finally hits the ground about three miles from where it left its body, Six wakes up in Four’s arms and instantly begins making out with him. A now awake Bruce makes a small coughing noise to interrupt the make-out session, causing Six and Four shoot a surprised glance in Bruce’s direction. The expression of surprise turns into the mischievous grin of two kids who have been caught in the act… of kissing. The three of them laugh, followed by Bruce saying, “Let’s go home kid.” Four looks at Six longingly. She smiles and nods, and the movie ends with the silhouette of the three of them walking from all the burning bodies and burning buildings as the closing credits begin rolling up the screen.

So, if you are in the mood for a Superman-ish farm boy, turned project Weapon X runaway, saved by a Firestarter-ish teenage cheerleader, who is actually the female equivalent of Obi-wan, there to awaken the Jedi power within a misunderstood anger filled teenager, while they are both running for their lives from some evil group of men that always wear sunglasses and can never hit anything they’re shooting at, followed by a climax of battling mutant powers, and ending in total success because the whole plot of the movie was actually, “Are the two hot ones going to make-out or not?” well then this movie will not disappoint you.

I do hope you enjoyed my Smirk Made-up Movie Review for I am Number Four. Let me know what you think… If enough people enjoy it, I’ll try to make it a more of a regular feature.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: I am Number Four.

The True Winner of the Super Bowl

The True Winner of the Super Bowl

I have acquired a fairly functional existence where I have managed to avoid most things that carry with it the identifier of “sport.” Let’s take football for example, which is actually a completely inaccurate descriptor of the American sport “Catch, Run, Hit.” With the culmination of the latest football season now at a close, which was celebrated this past Sunday… the day of the “big game,” I thought I’d devote today’s Smirk about not only the topic of sports, but about the big game itself.

No, I didn’t see it. Traditionally I don’t know who is even playing in the Super Bowl until the weekend of. Thanks to my office mates, the majority who, despite my complete and utter lack of interest, still continue to attempt to educate me in the much celebrated art of “talking sports.” It is thanks to these people that I am always able to learn on the Monday after the game who actually won. Apparently this year it was a bunch of people that like cheese, which I am in full support of, since I too like cheese. What a real treat, next time you make grilled cheese sandwiches to dunk in your tomato soup use smoked Gouda… Mmmmm… smoked Gouda, you’ll thank me, I promise.

The point is that over the last five years, contrary to my best efforts, I have actually learned a few things about sports… twenty, probably more, but twenty is a number I’m willing to commit to at this point. Here is about half of what I’ve learned about sports over the past five years:

  • Brett Favre is essentially a 75 year old football player and those are football years by the way, which are a lot like dog years except without all those hours spent trying to teach them to catch a Frisbee in their mouth. Also, turns out he has recently show reoccurring commitment issues in regards to his retiring from the sport.
  • Eli Stone does not play football, some other guy named Eli does. I know this seems like a mute point, but trust me, to those that follow the game, it is an important distinction.
  • Lions play on the grass and Ducks play on the ice.
  • There is some guy who plays football who legally changed his name to the number of his jersey, but in a different language. He did this so he could have his number on her jersey twice, once numerically and once in a foreign language. This seems like a bit unnecessarily redundant, and I was convinced that the story was a ruse that football fans use to “out” none football fans, but I have been assured it is true… Google has confirmed it as well.
  • The Utah Jazz use to have a mailman on their team, or something like that.
  • Oh, and Arnold Palmer is not just a tasty drink. It is actually the name of a guy who played golf who drank so much of the half lemonade, half ice tea drink that the entire planet got together and decided to name the beverage after him… well done there.
  • Michael Jordan was the one who liked to make faces when he’d dunk the ball.
  • There was a guy named Bo in the sports world that apparently “knows” things.
  • And finally, it would appear that every sports team has an arch nemesis.

I pretty sure I know more than that, but those are the first things that came to mind. I will say that my guessing skills on whether a team plays basketball or football has gotten a lot a touch better as well.

On to the Super Bowl then… now is it just me or does anyone else find it a little amusing that a group of large men get together each weekend to beat on another group of large men all for the chance to win a gem encrusted ring at the end of the season. I mean isn’t football really just televised “fighting for jewelry” with a ball thrown in there as a way to decide the victor and so the camera has a designated target to follow throughout the game? Ok, most would disagree with me, but I do feel it’s a point worth mentioning.

I know it has been apparent over the years, but this year it really struck me… the Super Bowl really doesn’t seem to be about the game, it seems to be a kind of Oscars for commercials. I cannot even begin to count how many times, leading up to the game, I heard people say, “The best part about the game are the commercials,” or “I only watch the game to watch the commercials.” This is baffling to me. This major sporting event has become, in a sense, the commercial and the commercials have become the game. As the game is playing people stand around the kitchen snacking on food, check their email, or Facebook, text friends, take a potty break, do homework, and so on, but when the game stops and the commercials come on, everyone goes running into the television room to watch with anticipation to see what the next commercial is going to be. The true attraction of the Super Bowl… the commercials!

When I got to work Monday after the big game, no one talked about the game. There were no references to spectacular catches or plays that had to be watched again on YouTube because they were so amazing. No, but what I did hear was the endless chatter about the commercials during the game. One coworker even had a web page open so that he could review all of the game commercials and vote for his favorite. Then in a week he can go back and discover the true winner of the Super Bowl. The first thing my office mate said to me that morning was about his favorite commercials. He had me pull up this two favorite so I could see them and share in his advertisement created joy.

It’s been almost a week since the game ended, and I have not heard one mention of the teams involved. However, people are still talking about the commercials. Just today, as I was walking down the hall on my way to the break room, I overheard the people in front of me debating about which Doritos commercial was the game’s best. Amazing.

I guess there was one thing that was talked about a bit in regards to the game. It was the fact that and ex-Mouseketeer blundered the words to the National Anthem… just one more reason why people should stop letting Disney raise their children. I’m just saying. Hopefully the sheer embarrassment of that performance will keep Aguilera from performing live for… hell if it’s even a month it will have been worth it.

The whole thing does make me smile though. The most anticipated and watched sports event of the year in the US and all people seem to remember is which thirty second collection of images made them laugh the most. You know I wouldn’t be surprised if companies start doing their own product placement in commercials to help with the cost of a Super Bowl ad, that or to get double exposure for the price of one.

Take an ad for a hybrid Ford. Introduce a sleek attractive couple on a super sexy road trip and now throw in the image of this couple eating a bag of Lay’s brand potato chips… wink, wink, nudge, nudge – two products advertized for the price of one. Then as payback, Lay’s gets their own commercial slot. In their ad they use a Ford SUV for the family that is driving thorough a nature preserve while everyone is eating from their own bag of travel size Lay’s brand potato chips. Then enter a group of sneaky raccoon’s. One begins to mime a Van Halen air guitar solo getting the family to stop the car and watch in giggly delight. The others raccoons sneak in though a rolled down window and steal all the bags of chips, ending the commercial with some lame over used phrase like “Everybody wants some.” Again, one commercial, one price, two products… you know it’s just a matter of time before they start doing this.

Until then, enjoy your commercials and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll get to see some of that thing they call football.

Anyone feel this way about the big game? I mean I know I’m not a fan, but it does seem to be coming in second when competing with the commercials. Any thoughts?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: football, sports knowledge, watching tv, and raccoon.

Star Wars, The Untold Stories

Star Wars, The Untold Stories

The amazing thing about releasing a creation to the world is that one it is released, it becomes it’s very own force, which is something to be dealt with. The thing is one you put it out there it is out of your hands, and regardless of how much you want to keep hold of it and keep it pure, there is going to be someone out there with a little too much free time on their hands that is going to bastardize the whole thing. This has happened repetitively throughout the ages.

There is one, however, that I feel compelled to share. And it’s thanks to Facebook and the ongoing experience of meeting new people and seeing new profile pictures that makes me smile and want to share some of these unsolicited and experiments that were birthed by the creation that is Star Wars.

I mean sure I could make a comment that Lucas has done more to bastardize and destroy the magic that was the original concept and creation, but that would be a little too easy. So instead I give you a few Facebookian Star Wars themed profile pictures that I feel deserve a little personal insight as well as a gratitude filled nod to whoever created these Smirk inducing images:

Jedi Squirrels
The force has never been so cute and so dangerous at the same time. This is a result of Yoda getting bored waiting for Luke to show up on Dagobah for his Jedi training montage. The squirrels used the force to escape Dagobah to find a nice park on a populated planet where they could do Jedi battle reenactments for, well, nuts. To me, the only comparison that gets close to this trio is a squadron… is that right? Or is it a flock, or posse, or troop… flank!… whatever the word is the rest of it is… ninja bunnies! I mean what is a better or more perfect blend of adorable and deadly at the same time.

Gentleman Fett
Bobo Fett dressed up in a Victorian suit. There is something inherently smileful about a gentleman bounty hunter. This image was taken after Han was frozen and Bobo had some extra cash after delivering him to the Hutt. He opted to go on holiday. As he was traveling around he found a rustic little western town that had one of those old timey photo studios where he went in to play dressed up, and found some cloths from an almost forgotten era just to get his picture taken. I don’t know about you, but there is something about Bobo playing dress up always gets me laughing.

Princess Vader
Speaking of playing dress up, here’s what happened when young Leia discovered who her real father was. I can only imagine the inner dialogue that created this for her costume themed 5th birthday party. “Should I be a princess, or my dad… princess… dad? Hmmm… I know! Both!” A pink Darth Vader mask with a tiara, I know Darth wanted to rule the Empire with his son Luke, but had he just skipped that battle and approached the daddy’s girl who knows what direction the empire would have gone once the Emperor was out of the way.

President Chewbacca
It was a close race, but it happened, Chewie ran for office and won. And even though he was the first Wookiee to be elected to reside over the senate after the Emperor fell, he took the task very seriously. This included the first pitch of the season, not bad form either for considering Wookiee’s are not big baseball fans. They are not terribly fond of sports that require you to catch things in your hand instead of your mouth. It’s an instinct that goes back to their canine ancestors. And who would have expected him and Leia to hook up after things failed with Han. I always thought Chewy had more of a crush on Han than Leia, who knew. Han was still a trooper about the whole thing and was the best man at the wedding. Leia also made a very capable first lady due to all that political training she received when she was a kid.

And finally… a bit of (made up) Star Wars Trivia…

How Carrie Fisher Got the Role as Leia
According to my sources (that are completely fictitious) this photo was taken at some StWa-Con (a made up comic book/sci fi convention) where a reenactment was performed to convey how Lucas decided who was going to play the the role of Princess Leia… the winner of the pillow fight would don the Princess Leia mantel. This battle lasted at three days, and Lucas sat in his director’s chair for the entire duration until Fisher emerged victorious. (She might be little, but she can hold her own. Just ask Jabba.)

Well there you have it, some of my favorite random Star Wars themed images from random Facebook profile pictures and the completely bogus stories and made-up commentaries that go with them.

What are your thoughts?

Image Sources:
Taken from random Facebook profile images.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

With Utah’s birthday coming up, July 24th to be exact, I thought I‘d get a little jump on the topic of Utah. I have a great deal of appreciation for my state, and by state I mean Utah, the state I live and not my mental state… although the same could be said for that as well. Utah is quite diverse, geographically speaking. When you begin talking about the people, a lot of the diversity is a result of visitors, and people experiencing layovers at the air port.

Still, when you look at the land, Utah does have some beautiful national parks, forests and mountain ranges. Some are teeming with evergreens, rushing rivers and speckled with red and orange stone, arch carved and always thirsty for water. In the northern part of the state you can always expect a nice ensemble of seasons.

Apart from the raw breathtaking beauty of the state, there are also little nuggets that seem to help others appreciate the state as well. Things like snow, for those of the winter sport inclined. The Sundance Film Festival brings with it a spotlight and red carpet for Utah once a year. We even have a professional soccer team, oh yeah, and a basketball team that was relocated from New Orleans decades ago… which explains their name, because let’s face it one of the things Utah is not known for is their Jazz, well they are, just not in the Louis Armstrong sense of the word.

Then there are the things about Utah that you are a little unprepared for. Things like the Gilgal Sculpture Garden. As a standalone name for a garden it’s rather opinion free. When you find out there is a sculpture of a Sphinx there that has the head of Joseph Smith, you begin shacking your head in much the same way you might shake up an Etch-a-Sketch when you need to start over again on your picture. Joseph Smith was the chap that created the LSD religion, the dominant religion for the state. To make a comparison, I guess you could say it would be a little like going into Vatican City and finding a garden with a sculpture of a giant Sphinx with the head of Saint Peter on it… ok so maybe there is one. I have no idea. I’ve never been to Vatican City. Still, either way it’s one of those things that strike you as a bit odd.

Or there is the unhealthy obsession and addiction that mainstream Utahans seem to have with Jell-O. I have no idea where this intense connection to a wiggly green gelatinous food-like substance comes from, but there is also an unrelenting impulse to put shredded carrots in it.

Then there are things that are just odd enough that you are compelled to say, “Yeah, started here in Utah, sorry about that!” A friend sent me an article this morning of one such event. The article made me want to take the time to let you know that we in Utah are sorry about this. I give you… the Candwich! A man by the name of Mark Kirkland, from Salt Lake City, Utah is going to be unleashing a product that is a sandwich in a can.

I was touch disturbed when I first saw this because the first place my mind went was that it was a thick puréed liquid that was supposed to taste like the picture on the can. You can all relax a bit, I read the article to make sure. It’s a meal stored in a can. It has all the makings for a sandwich they show on the front of the can, in the can. Take the strawberry PBJ one for example. The can contains a packet of peanut butter, a packet of strawberry jam, a bun in an air tight sealed bag, and a taffy treat. The peanut butter and jam ones seem harmless enough, as long as you avoid looking at all the preservatives placed in it to ensure it had a shelf life of over one year. Thus giving Twinkies a run for their money as the longest lasting food source after the apocalypse, which will probably be a result of releasing this product into the world?

Let’s just hope they don’t put the word fresh anywhere on the product. There is no way a one year old sandwich is going, that is of course unless it grows a hand while in the can and get a little flirty when you set it free for your own personal consumption.

The one that disturbs me and almost triggers a gag reflex in me if I think about it too much is the BBQ chicken one. Keeping BBQ chicken in a sealed bag that is stored in a can, which is not required to be chilled or refrigerated in any way and has a shelf life of one plus years… well you can call that a number of things, but I’m pretty sure chicken isn’t one of them. Even more disturbing is the thought that if it catches on you know they’ll be adding more and more flavors. I mean if it does catch on, what’s next? Maybe they really will start creating liquid meals for mass consumption, which only pushes us one step closer to the portrayal of humans in Pixar’s WALL-E.

When I think of the great things about this nearly rectangular state, I am proud of Utah. Still, when it comes to being the state that is remembered for giving the world the sandwich in a can, well, it does deflate some of that pride. I guess we’ll have to see where this ride ends. Until then we can always thank this state. For those of you that live here I recommend, “Thanks Utah, for being our home.” And to those of you not living here might I recommend, “Thanks Utah, for being you. So we don’t have too.”

What are your thought about the whole Candwich product?

Image Source:
Google Images, key words: Utah, Joseph Smith Sphinx, Candwich, and Wall-E humans.

Who You Gonna Call…

Who You Gonna Call…

There are some things that I do my very best not to have an opinion about. Things like, is the Loch Ness Monster real, which car would win in a race between a ’70 AMC Gremlin and a ’71 Ford Pinto, or are all babies cute? The answer to that last one, by the way, is no. Not all babies are cute. I have seen some ugly babies in my time, I just lie a lot and tell people their baby is cute…. Ok so I guess I do have an opinion about that last one. The point being, there are some things I do try to remain opinionless about. One of those things just happens to be things of a paranormal nature, or monster related sightings.

This, however, is becoming a little more difficult as of late, mainly due to the barrage of recent television shows focused on these very topics. Let’s list a few of the shows currently dedicated to “finding proof.” We have Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Paranormal State, Destination Truth, Monster Quest, Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted, Unsolved Mysteries, Ghost Hunters Academy, Ghost Lab, The Haunted, A Haunting, Scariest Places on Earth, Psychic Kids, Scooby-Doo, and Creepy Canada, just to name a few.

I don’t know about you but that list seems a little excessive to me. I get that the reason more and more of them are popping up is because they are relatively inexpensive to make, and people seem to be watching these shows a bit more than they have done in the past. Still, I do have my gripes. Some shows seem more focused on displaying their designer tee shirts and immaculately styled hair than they are on finding anything paranormal. That’s right Ghost Adventures boys, I’m talking to you. Stop pretending to be possessed because you are not strong enough actors to carry an episode it’s full 43 minutes. You’re not fooling anyone… except maybe all the 13 year old girls that watch the show because they think you’re cute, but they don’t count. That age group is responsible for things like Hanna Montana and New Kids on the Block, not a lot of reliability when it comes to good taste at 13, except maybe Flintstones Vitamins.

Then we have the monster hunter type shows were people interview locals about what they saw anywhere from three months to 47 years ago. Then they spend one evening searching for the said monster/creature of myth and at the end… the one thing you can count on 100% of the time is the use of the phrase, “the evidence is inconclusive,” or as I like to call it the “we got nothing” disclaimer. Why do I watch them then? I think it’s a kind of 20/80 reasoning. 20% of it is mildly entertaining and 80% of it I enjoy, but it has to do with the research and history of were these myths may have originated from and I get to learn about new places around the world. Yes there are times when I am the Discovery Channel’s bitch, and discover I’ve spend three hours in one sitting watching that channel… damn you Shark Week.

My true lack of appreciation for these shows has to do with the losers of these shows. Let’s take one of the hunting for ghosts’ shows. You have these people who are caretakers for some estate, cellar, boat, theatre, or deteriorating insane asylum who believe wholeheartedly that they have their own little piece of the paranormal puzzle. Then they bring in these so called experts who put up a bunch of cameras and audio recorders and then spend maybe six hours total in the building and come back telling boasting “I think we got something.”

Then when they go back to the caretakers and reveal, “… they got nothing” and in their opinion their paranormal puzzle piece is just a piece and is not paranormal at all. Those moments always make me sad, it’s like when you discovered ** SPOILER ALERT** Santa wasn’t real, or the Easter Bunny didn’t really lay all those eggs you found in the backyard. It’s one of those moments that you lose a little piece of your imagination. And that is what happens to each one of those people who are told that their paranormal place is not haunted, poor things.

At least the people that are told their special place is haunted get to revel in that for a bit. I do wonder though, don’t you think TAPS could start some kind of rating system for “officially haunted” places, kind of like a ZAGAT rating for restaurants. The higher the rating the more paranormal activity a location has. Owners of these establishments could place their little TAPS rating plaque for people to see and to use it as a tool to help them plan where they would like to go on their next holiday. I mean, I know I wouldn’t use it, but I’m sure there are plenty that would.

And since I’m giving suggestions for improving these shows, there is one thing that would universally help every single one of these ghost finding shows currently on the air. All you have to do is look at the greatest ghost hunting team of all time and you will know exactly what I mean… they need a pet. The reason for the interstellar success and fame of Scooby-Doo is because they had a pet, they had Scooby. And yes interstellar, the sheer grandeur and magnificence of Scooby-Doo has vastly exceeded our solar system… I don’t care that I can’t prove that statement, the fact is it’s still true. I say pets because I’m not sure if this paradigm is strictly dog related or if it is a bit more open to just pets in general.

Now there are some shows that do attempt to use elements from Scooby’s many documented cases. Case in point Most Haunted. Just like the Scooby, the Most Haunted team spends a large portion of their time running away from every sound, movement, reflection, and anything that could even possibly be connected to any form of paranormal activity. Well done, you learned well from Scooby and Shaggy. The first time I saw this happen, I was all for spending a little more time with this band of “fraidy cat” investigators. After about three more situations like this in about a five minute time span, I gave up and changed the channel.

There was one key element that Most Haunted missed, an element that causes the Scooby performance to succeed and the Most Haunted performance to fail. This is the food motivated regrouping process that occurs after the run. Now if you were to have the Most Haunted crew forget about ghosts and begin looking for sandwiches then you’d have something I’d be willing to keep watching. Not only did they run away from ghosts, but they were able to make a four inch thick sandwich from random food they found in the house… now that is impressive.

Also, there is one final element… the Scooby snack. I have no idea what kind of narcotic a Scooby snack is, but it restores energy and courage to the heroes and enables them to continue with their ghost hunting without running away, and thus the evidence for assigning a location with the title “Haunted” is completed. Perhaps the Most Haunted crew needs to take a bunch of valium after they finish their sandwich, reinforcing in them the state of lucid calm. That way the next time they see the light from the camera filming them reflect in a mirror they won’t run away and instead walk up to that reflection and pet it until it either gets bored and runs away or until they become friends and can go find something a little more ghostly related.

As for the reality of whether these shows are true or false, real or fake, fact or make believe, I really don’t have an opinion. People believe what they want. I do like that it encourages people, especially adults, to use their imagination a bit more. Ghosts or not, I think we could all use a bit more imagination in our days, I know I could. One favor though, when using your imagination please try to avoid yelling, “What was that!” every time you walk into a room. It can get a trifle wearing.

What are your thoughts on the topic?

Image Sources:
Google Images, key words: ghosts, shark week, The Atlantic Paranormal Society, and Scooby and Shaggy.