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Dear George Noory,

Where the hell are the aliens? The Shadow People? The cryptozoologists? The ghost hunters and remote viewers? The exorcists?

Let me say right up front that I love you and I truly mean you no disrespect here. But what was up with that “Taxation Special” you had Sunday night?

I didn’t like it.

I’m not going to go totally off on you about this because I know you’re already taking a wicked savage and brutal beating on the forums and message boards lately. But really, a four-hour “Taxation Special”? Great Zeus, man, what were you thinking? That’s not a topic for Coast to Coast! A Louisiana lawyer talking about his tax evasion case? And geez  …. do you really need me to tell you that “Former IRS Special Agent Joe Banister” is a boring guest?

Jeezus. Your tax special actually woke me up at 3 AM last night when it sunk into my sleeping brain that some former IRS examiner was talking about how she stopped filing taxes in 1999 because there is no law requiring anyone to actually pay them. NOT ONCE DID SHE MENTION BEING ABDUCTED BY ALIENS!

Why was this garbage on the radio in the middle of the night? I’m not looking to think at that hour, George, I’m looking for something to take my mind off of stuff like that. And here you are piping it into my brain. No law requiring people to pay taxes? If that doesn’t wake you up and get your brain going I don’t know what will.

The only reason I was able to get back to sleep was because the next show on my C2C playlist came up quickly, and it was the Saturday night show where Ian Punnett  interviewed people about having sex with robots. Thank God for Ian. Because that’s what it’s come to, man. I’m now having to look to Ian for my bedtime stories. Ian is getting all the cool guests now, have you noticed that?

I mean, a couple weeks ago you had that “Secret Door IV” special where your first guest was financial advisor Howard Ruff discussing sub-prime mortgage rates. Does that sound like something you’d want to listen to as you’re trying to drift off to sleep?

You’re committing professional suicide and I’m scared for you. What is going on?

I’m not looking for Art Bell; you and Art do indeed have “different styles” as you’re always pointing out to certain rude callers, and that’s cool. That’s fine. I’m not looking for Art. But I am looking for George Noory! Have you seen him? Where did he go? Who is this guy who comes on every night claiming to be you? Who is this guy who ran a show devoted to the oil crises?

Now, tonight, I see that one of your scheduled guests is an aerospace engineer who will be laying out a strategy to cut our dependence on foreign oil. You’re killing me, George.

Unless this guy’s strategy includes a dozen or more Shadow People who will harness the power of Big Foot to mine a distant planet for all the oil that’s being hoarded by the Grays … I will be pissed.

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Coast to Coast – Part Two

I like this picture because it appears that the Bigfoot is heading right for Stella, and I laugh because were that truly the case, Bigfoot has no idea what he’s up against. He’d lose in an encounter with her. She’s small, but when she’s angry she’s like those vicious little fish in the Amazon — and I don’t mean piranha. They’re some sort of little urinary tract fish. Being that she’s like one of those, Buck has nothing to fear.

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In Coast to Coast-Part One, I left off at the part where we came to the conclusion that Art Bell and Father Malachi Martin were nothing like Frost and Nixon.

Me: Father Malachi told Art Bell that he performed thousands of minor exorcisms in his career, usually hundreds of them each year, and a few hundred major exorcisms while he was at the Vatican.

Buck: Did you know there are two kinds of exorcisms? The ones that only priests can attend, and ones that anyone can go to like a boxing match?

Me: Well …. no, I’m embarrassed to say I did not know that. But your boxing match comparison was excellent, seeing that my favorite scene in The Exorcist is when Father Karras goes at Linda Blair like Marvin Hagler. It’s something you want him to do, you’re like, Thank you Jesus for having your priest beat up that little devil child, and you wish he’d done it earlier in the film. Or constantly throughout the film, actually.  It’s THAT satisfying. I never tire of seeing it.

 Buck: I’ve never seen The Exorcist.

Me: A wise thing on your part. You wouldn’t like it. I do, of course, but that’s me. Especially the beating up scene I like to imagine that all exorcisms end the way that one did. Our exorcism kit, which Max has confiscated, is fully loaded with  —

Buck: We don’t have an exorcism kit. It’s an Extreme Unction kit.

Me: Well, Barbara has a similar kit and I’m almost positive she can perform an exorcism with it. I call it the exorcism kit.

Buck: [laughing] I know you do, but that’s because you’re a heathen and not a Catholic. Barbara has an Extreme Unction kit.

Me: Hers is unbelievable, whatever the hell it is. It’s way better than ours. Hers is this gigantic framed-like  box on the wall. It’s very elaborate and beautiful, and you can open it up and see the secret kit and it’s so much more technical than ours. Ours is like a guerilla kit, for performing exorcisms and Extreme Unction on the fly with whatever’s available —

Buck: Barbara’s is she has too many options. All you need is well, what the basic kit is, is Holy Water, a cross, and I think a candle.

Me: Not Barbara’s. Her kit has a lot of other much cooler stuff. She’s got a scarf in there that you can put on like a priest. And it’s probably got a wooden stake in it, too, but I can’t fully remember —

Buck: Yeah, I know it’s probably got all that stuff, but that’s all smoke and mirrors.

Me: Are you crazy? It’s all smoke and mirrors! Catholicism is all smoke and mirrors!

Buck: These kits are only for dying and baptizing non-Catholics. And you can only do it in extreme cases, that’s the only time non-priests have The Power. Personally, I’ve only done it five or six times. And I still don’t even know if it took.

Me: Do you mean to tell me that if we were in need of an emergency exorcism you couldn’t grab that kit and somehow improvise?

Buck: No.

Me: Break the glass?

Buck: NO. The only thing you could do is throw holy water at the vampire or whatever it is that you think you need protection from.

Me: Well this is just awful. What’s the point of being Catholic?

Buck: What floored me about Holy Water when I was an altar boy at St. Joe’s church, is that they kept it out back in one of those big corrugated construction site Arctic Coolers. It had HOLY WATER scrawled-painted on it. [laughing]

Me: [laughing] Like a trash can?

Buck: It was very strange because it was in the secret passageway behind the altar.

Me: The secret lives of altar boys. 

Buck: When you went back there they’d tell you, Go fill up the Holy Water bowls, and you’d have to go back there and get it out of this Arctic Cooler.

Me: Did you feel like you were handling nuclear waste?

Buck: No, no, no, it felt like you were handling Kool-Aid.

Me: Were you ever tempted to stick your whole head in it?

Buck: No. But compared to everything else in the church, which was gold or silver or something, this aluminum thing hidden away was so practical it didn’t make sense. For Holy Water? You’d think there would have been a couple of jewels on it. A touch of gold, at least. Plus, I think the only reason they bothered labeling it was so you wouldn’t drink it.

Me: I would have drank it.

Buck: Yep. You woulda.

Me: But getting back to George Noory. I wonder where it’s all going? Because he can’t really continue like this, this new timidity that’s taken over his personality is quite disturbing. AND his willingness to be a doormat for authors just sucks.

Buck: No, the whole thing is in a little disarray, because when Art Bell was on, even just for weekends, that kept George in check. Even though George was then the big cheese on the show, he had to always somehow suck up or defer to Art. But now, with Art busy having children and all, it’s a very different world.

Me: I don’t know what the future of the show is. I don’t think it’s going to leave, but I think Art will have to do something about George’s sissy fears, and his insistence on letting authors plug their books without parting with any juicy information. I haven’t heard back yet on the email I sent the producer last week.

Dear C2C,
I’d really like to see Ghost Whisperer-inspiration Mary Ann Winkowsky as a guest. On Halloween night she was a guest on another radio show and she went into GREAT detail about what she does, and she also told good anecdotes. Although I love George Noory, lately his guests have all been authors and they don’t reveal anything because they’re trying to sell books. And George isn’t getting anything out of them! It’s disappointing to hear guests come out with 50 different ways to say “You’ll have to buy my book to find that out…” and “If you buy my book, you’ll see that …” 

All they want is to plug their book.

Hey, I’m not putting authors down. I’m a big reader. I’M PRO-READING! But c’mon, you’re on the Coast to Coast talk show so either say something or stick to the lonely table at your Barnes & Noble book signings. Art (and the old George, also) always got these people to talk in the past but ever since Art left, these author-guests don’t want to part with any information. They’re running amok, is what’s happening. If I can see it, well, certainly you’re seeing it.

I know Winkowski has a  book out, but she didn’t act like it on Halloween when she was on another show. On that show she answered all the host’s questions without giving him the runaround. If she gets on C2C and acts like all of George’s other guests, refusing to divulge how she deals with ghosts etc., I will be disgusted. DISGUSTED. Because if that’s the case, I’ll have to wonder if word is out that George is becoming soft as an interviewer, and they’re all rushing to take advantage of him. And he’s a 3 TIME EMMY WINNER! What’s happening?

George mentioned last week that Winkowski would be a guest on C2C “very soon” but I’ve been checking the schedule every day and don’t see her name listed.

Thanks for your time.
Sincerely,

Buck: Well if I recall, you were kind of hard on George in that email.

Me: I don’t want to be hard on George, but Jeezus. I don’t want to see him being scared of his own shadow and getting walked on night after night by authors whose books are in the markdown bin at K-Mart. I just want the old George back, that’s all. And quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing about Iraq at the top of the show. I get my Iraq news elsewhere, and I don’t want to get it from Coast to Coast.

Buck: Yeah, it would be good if they’d just dive into the subject.

Me: YES. As a matter of fact we’re done here.  I gotta write another email to the producer before I take my nap. Otherwise I won’t get a wink of rest. 

We want the old George back.

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Links: 

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Coast to Coast Part One

To say we’re big fans of Coast to Coast is an understatement. We’re pretty much obsessed with it. For the uninitiated, Coast to Coast is a late-night syndicated radio talk show that focuses on paranormal and extraterrestrial activity. The topics range from: interviews with Bigfoot historians; details about shadow people and what they could possibly want from us; remote viewing tips from remote viewing experts; cryptozoology; hauntings; and of course lots of UFO sightings and stories of abduction and probing by aliens.

Coast to Coast is reportedly the most listened-to radio program in the world.

It was created by Art Bell in the mid-1980s. Art has recently retired again (he’s retired a couple of times) but he does fill in on an as-needed basis. He’s still broadcasting out of his home in Pahrump, in the county of Nye, Nevada, which he often refers to as The Kingdom of Nye on the show. George Noory, a former news director who has won three Emmy Awards in his career, is the full-time host now. Ian Punnett takes over on Saturday nights.

Although Buck has been a fan from the start, it took longer for the show to sink into my psyche. Looking back I don’t know why, or how, I resisted for so long. I can’t remember when I first realized this show was tailor made for me, but I was probably half-listening one night when someone who sounded perfectly normal and very convincing said something like, “…and then the whole house began to shake, and the doors and windows flew open, and a beam of light came into the room, entered my butt, and the next thing I knew I was in a space craft …” or something to that effect, and I was hooked.

Now I’m a paying member of C2C, as it is known to online regulars, which means I can send “Fast Blasts” to the hosts during live shows if I have a question (which I’ve never done), and download the MP3 files so Buck and I can play them without commercial interruption. Buck claims to need C2C in order to get his mind off work so he can fall asleep at night, while I’m just a sucker for anything weird.

Our Coast to Coast thing isn’t out of a search for The Truth, as Fox Mulder always called it, though it would be awfully nice to have scientific proof if something was indeed out there. But UFOs aren’t really on our radar, so to speak, and we rely on the show for purely entertainment purposes. Well, that’s probably more true for Buck than me. I usually hear at least one person every night whose story I believe. Or I believe that they believe it, anyway. But George Noory’s voice is very soothing and the conversation is always interesting, so listening is a part of our nightly routine whether we’re home, in a hotel, or on the road.

In direct conflict with our C2C obsession is our interest in James Randi. Some people may find that really odd, given that James Randi and George Noory are polar opposites. James Randi is a scientific skeptic as well as a stage magician who goes by the professional name The Amazing Randi. He’s been involved in several legal disputes and feuds, including a long-term battle with Uri Geller (a self-proclaimed psychic and recent guest on Coast to Coast), and also with Allison Dubois (whose life is the basis for the TV show Medium.)

Randi’s only crime, as far as I can tell, is demanding people back up their claims with scientific evidence and if they can’t, he wants them to shut the hell up and stop “performing” as the real deal. He’s gone as far as putting up his own money for a $1 Million Paranormal Challenge that has been in existence since 1964. The rules of the challenge must be agreed upon by Randi and the participant. To date, no one has made it past the preliminary test. 

We like Randi and admire his Houdini-like devotion to debunking frauds, but of course it’s always a conflict for me because I like frauds as much as debunkers. This morning, my two worlds collided when I was cruising the Internet and saw this message posted on James Randi’s website. Because it involved George, I printed it out and showed Buck. (As an FYI, the question in the post was posed by Martin Delaney, the founding director of Project Inform, which battles medical quackery.)

“…anything we can or should be doing to counter the nonsense being spread world-wide by George Noory on the Coast to Coast radio show? Normally I wouldn’t care but it’s now one of the most widely-heard radio shows in the entire world, and since Noory took it over from Art Bell, it has gotten worse with each passing month. It seems that any idiot claiming any bit of nonsense gets a featured slot on the show, while anyone with real credentials or scientific training is never heard. I really believe the show is doing harm to the American public, encouraging the modestly educated to return to the superstitions of past years. Ghosts, “shadow people,” witches spells, Sylvia Browne, creationists, quack therapies, perpetual motion machines, remote viewing – the list is endless and gets repeated and recycled almost every week. Tonight it’s some goofy creationist babbling about how the Earth is just a few thousand years old. Is there any way we can go after this guy? This crap is increasingly making the US the laughing stock of the developed world.”

Buck: Well that’s amazing.

Me: What’s amazing?

Buck: That George is being called on the carpet.

Me: He’s not really, though. He’s just got these people worried that he’s taking over the world. And George never acknowledges this negative stuff anyway. You never see him on Larry King or whatever. Not that Larry King is coherent enough to interview George in the first place —

Buck: I don’t know why this guy is so worried. George is just an entertainer. He’s fun, and I enjoy what he does. I don’t like it, but I enjoy it.

Me: Well I LOVE IT.

Buck: I know. And I do enjoy it. It makes me feel superior, which is not easy. So what’s your question again?

Me: I don’t have any questions. I just thought that letter was odd. I mean, why is this well-respected guy saying HOW CAN WE STOP GEORGE NOORY? What’s that guy’s problem? Why does he care? George isn’t telling people to go seek medical treatment in the jungles of Brazil or anything. And lately, all he’s done is talk about his growing fear of Ouija boards.

Buck: Yeah, I don’t see that letter writer single-handedly taking down a program that’s popular world-wide.

Me: I know it’s world-wide and people say it’s the biggest show on earth or whatever, but we’re the only people I know who listen to it. And it seems to me that all the other members besides myself are fanboys. So where’s the threat of world-dominance? Me and the fanboys aren’t gonna do anything.

Buck: Well, anybody who’s up and listening to the radio that late at night isn’t looking for it’s not like they’re listening because their PBS station isn’t coming in clearly, let me put it that way.

Me: Good point.

Buck: If George Noory went off the air there’d be so many big rig crashes out there it would be incredible.

Me: ‘Cuz drivers would fall asleep?

Buck: Yeah. Driving across country I actually need George Noory. And he is everywhere. That’s just the most fun, cruising out on a lonely highway with Coast to Coast on the radio.

Me: Plus flying. I couldn’t get on a plane without a ton of George Noory loaded up on my personal listening device.

Buck: True.

Me: My plan is to get an iPod for Christmas, and then fill it with nothing but Coast to Coast and plug it into a big speaker.

Buck: They’ll love you on the planes for that.

Me: I wouldn’t do it on the plane. I’d do it here at home. On the plane I’d use my earbuds.

Buck: Oh.

Me: The great thing about Coast to Coast is that we can listen to a show that’s ten years old and it doesn’t make any difference. They’re timeless. And I can hear the same show again and again because I miss little things the first time around, or I’ve fallen asleep and missed a lot. The shows are timeless.

Buck: Nuts are timeless.

Me: They are.

Buck: The topics have nothing to do with anything that’s going on at any given time. What’s the difference between an old show and a recent one?

Me: No difference at all.

Buck: As a matter of fact, I’d prefer an old one.

Me: Why?

Buck: Give me Art Bell any day.

Me: Well Art was on Halloween night, for his annual Ghost to Ghost.

Buck: Yeah, but that was all open-lines. When he comes in to just guest host it’s like a pinch hitter. It isn’t like he’s in the moment.

Me: The interesting thing about Art Bell is that he’ll call people out and tell them he thinks they’re being ridiculous. He gets disgusted with some callers that he suspects as being liars. Last spring I heard him go absolutely berserk on a guy who said 9/11 was an inside job. Art went ballistic.

Buck: I used to envision Art from his home radio station in Pahrump sitting there as a big fat guy in a bathrobe, or a wizard’s robe, with slippers on. Which isn’t the case at all.

Me: No. He’s quite small and slender. And I’ve never seen him in a bathrobe. He dresses like a beatnik, with the dark turtlenecks and the cigarette and everything, which I like intensely. But you already know he’s often dressed like a beatnik, because I email you photos of him all the time.

Buck: Those photos you send always scare me. You never label the email, and I open it and the photo is like the size of the entire screen. It’s quite shocking.

Me: Yeah. I know.

Buck: Art’s kind of weasily looking.

Me: No. No, that’s wrong. He’s monkey-like.

Buck: His questions are a lot better than George’s.

Me: No. They’re not better.

Buck: They are better. He sort of puts people on the spot and lets them hang themselves, then he goes in for the kill.

Me: Well, Ian Punnett does that also. I’ve gotten to like Ian, ever since he verbally chopped up that guy that had been calling George and scaring him by imitating the devil. The guy made the mistake of trying to pull the same crap on Ian, and Ian cut that guy to shreds then laughed so hard there was dead air for like two minutes. Ian couldn’t breathe. I was laughing with him. And the devil guy hasn’t called back since.

Buck: Ian Punnett I don’t like because you can tell right from the start he’s going for the kill. That’s what I don’t like about him.

Me: Well last weekend he was with a guest whom he was honestly trying to believe. He wanted to believe what the guy was saying. But the guest kept avoiding Ian’s question and not answering it. So then Ian became disgusted and said so. But he was adamant about the fact that he’d wanted to believe the guy, but couldn’t, because the guy wouldn’t back up his claim. Or even answer the question. I didn’t mind Ian’s response, because I felt that way too.

Buck: Here comes Stella. Tip-tapping her twenty nails across the tile floor. She wants to hear this conversation.

Me: Because she’s an alien creature herself, and she feels she can contribute.

Buck: She’s a shadow dog. But Art Bell used to get a lot of guests who were funded by respected universities for very weird stuff. He did a lot of that, get guests who were semi-legitimate because they were being paid by big universities. That was insane. They’d be building some machine and it was just crazy. Art really ran the show differently.

Me: Well, I definitely feel that in the last few months George has taken some weird turn. He’s become timid. He frightens easily and his guests are all plugging books, so they don’t have a lot of good stuff to say because they want you to buy the book and read it. They won’t part with any information, and George lets them get away with it. And plus, his fear of Ouija boards has gotten so weird, and ever since he backed out of doing the Ouija on the air he’s acting like he now has a license to be scared of everything. I don’t like that at all. Art Bell and Ian Punnett aren’t scared of these people, so why is George?

Buck: Right.

Me: I don’t feel that George is a buffer between us and what’s going on in the show. I feel like he’s been a disappointing guard dog lately. He’s scared now. You could tell him, George do not go outside because there’s a wolfman from outer space waiting to eat you! And George wouldn’t go outside.

Buck: Right. Art Bell would go right out there and if there was a wolfman from outer space, Art would pummel it into the ground. Or he’d pull some incantation out of his ass, something he heard Father Malachi say.

Me: Oh, Father Malachi Martin! I love him. I love him and Art together, they’re like Frost and Nixon. If Nixon had been a priest. And didn’t tell lies. Well, I guess they’re really nothing like Frost and Nixon.

Buck: No, they’re not.

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Tomorrow: Coast to Coast Part Two, in which we take a rented convertible to go looking for Art Bell in Pahrump and get lost in a time warp with a carnival caravan like the one on HBO’s Carnivale.

 Links: Coast to Coast Website

Public log of applicants for the The $1 Million Paranormal Challenge.

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