| Bob Weaver 2003|
Americans like loud explosions and watching things blow up.
We also like God, guns and lots of flag waving.
Customers have been lining up at fireworks tents along U. S. 33 near Spencer, looking for the best blasts for the Fourth of July.
The Hur Millennium Celebration in 2000 brought more loud explosions from the ground and in the air than ever seen, before or since, in this community. It was great.
I know such excitement, having made dozens of homemade bombs when I was a kid on Hur Hill and going to all those original movies about blowing up planet earth.
Being of unsound adolescent mind, I even blew-up a dynamite cap, which knocked a large hole in the concrete behind the house, and sent me to the hospital with embedded fragments in my body, eyesight in tact.
Miraculously, after many explosions, I still have my fingers and toes.
In today's climate, along with my high school buddies, I would most certainly be on a list of terrorists.
"Independence Day" has been good timing for the release of motion pictures portraying the invasion of America by alien forces, lots of things being blown-up.
We even like to be entertained by the possible destruction of all mankind - a really big bang.
This year it is the re-make of Orson Wells "War of the Worlds," which first came to the movie screen in 1953, and caused small children to shiver at the Mt. Zion Drive-in.
We went to see the new version last week in Clarksburg, an-edge-on-the-seat thriller, whose special effects makes the '53 edition warm and fuzzy.
The film was based on a 1938 radio show, written, produced and acted by Wells himself. My dad said he heard Wells broadcast of his sci-fi tale on a battery radio.
Following the broadcast, a wave of mass hysteria seized thousands of radio listeners, who believed the drama was really happening, Martians invading the earth.
The broadcast disrupted households, interrupted religious services, created traffic jams and clogged telephone lines.
My dad said he got the creeps, but he managed to hear the disclaimer.
No motion picture will equal the terror of the real-life pictures from 9-11, the attack on the Twin Towers, or the real-life drama going on right now with the crashing of a missile against a real comet, quite a project for this Independence Day.
That should make a loud noise, if you could be there.
One must assume it is practice for saving the earth, if such a problem presents itself.
An early spine-tingling B-movie regarding such a calamity was "When Worlds Collide," made in 1951 and re-made many times over the years.
In all such flicks, at least so far, the world was spared.
Such alien force weirdness was never done better than the hoaxes and spins of West Virginia's own UFO guy, Gray Barker.
This past week we visited the Gray Barker Room in the Harrison County Public Library.
Barker, a West Virginia original, was the editor of a flying saucer magazine and made a living (or tried to) writing about alien abductions, the Braxton County Monster and numerous other books about UFOs.
He assured us aliens are here, now, and they want something we have. Maybe us.
His story lines were always written as the truth. They have made millions and millions of dollars for movie makers, with none of the cash going to him. He was the creator of the "men in black" and was the person behind Point Pleasant's “Mothman.”
We are writing more about Barker the hoaxer in another story, having become fascinated by his tales on late night radio in the 50s and later meeting him in the 70s, not long before his death.
In the meantime, take a few moments to blow something up. Please, nothing harmful. It is the Fourth of July.
And look skyward. “They” are out there, just waiting ...