Sunday, June 22, 2008


For eons, we evolving humans looked at the stars and wondered, “What the heck are those twinkly little dots up there?” Then later, when we knew a bit more, we wondered, “Are we alone, or might there be somebody up there?” Blessed (or cursed) as we are with fertile imaginations, we then began to speculate on what such fellow occupants of the Universe might be like. Then we began to record our musings in story, movie, and song, and we have to admit that, for the most part, our supposed visiting interplanetary neighbors (that sounds like Weird Al spoofing Alanis Morissette!) haven’t been depicted as all that attractive, or friendly.

In popular music, nearly everyone has had a shot a singing about aliens, from Ella Fitagerald’s “Two Little Men in a Flying Saucer” (1951) right up to the present, with Outkast and Blink 182. The only one who doesn’t seem to think much of the topic is former Eagle Don Henley – “They’re Not Here, They’re Not Coming.” And he doesn’t exactly say he doesn’t believe, he’s just asking why would they bother coming here! Of course, if they don’t want to come here, we make house calls. In fact, we’re up there on Mars right now, looking for LGMs (industry term – Little Green Men). But so far, the only color up there seems to be that endless rusty red. Oh, and a bit of white, which is caused by some little square-ish tidbits of ice, which upon being unearthed (unMarsed?) by the module, promptly sublimated (go directly to Gas, do not pass Liquid, do not collect $200). So, suddenly… it’s gone! All we can hope to find now is maybe a few amino acids, or maybe some bacteria. Personally, if that’s the case, I’m glad we don’t get the module back…I just watched the remake of Andromeda Strain on TV the other night. Critters from other planets can be unattractive, unfriendly and very unhealthy. Anyway, my point is, I think we may have seen…or heard…the best of the alien songs. Once we rolled the ice dice, the romance of it all kinda went out the window. So let’s pause for a moment and remember the good old days, when aliens were little and green, and big and purple.

Sheb Wooley “Purple People Eater” 1958. This is terrific old footage, even if the SFX are a little old-fashioned!

The Byrds “Mr. Spacemen” 1968. Special effects are coming along nicely now, must be the acid.

I looked for the Don Henley song on YouTube. Unfortunately, it’s not there, is it coming?

UPDATE 23 JUN - After the commenter below clued me in about the Weird Al song "Germs", I found this little animation among several at YouTube. With LGM in it, I think you'll agree it's the perfect choice for this topic. And if you're up for it, there's another one on YT which I won't post here that's set to a compilation of scenes from the old X-Files series. Mind you, I was a huge X-phile, but somehow when all the "icky" scenes are strung closely together instead of spread out over dozens of episodes, well, it's a bit much before breakfast...


Anonymous said...

Weird Al DID write a song about bacteria, unsurprisingly called "Germs." It's on his Running with Scissors album.

"They're creepin' around my shorts
They're under the bathroom sink
They're ridin' inside my car
They're swimmin' in my drink
They're hidin' between my toes
They're lurkin' in every kiss
I got 'em way up my nose
In every orifice"

Listen and be afraid.

Deborah Godin said...

Thank you for that bit of important (seriously!) info; will definitely be giving it a listen. I might have known we could count on him.