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"LUMINOUS BEINGS ARE WE, NOT THIS CRUDE MATTER"

You have finally met him. I'm the one person on Earth who didn't like the movie "ET". When I first expressed this opinion on the set of Good Morning Carolina nearly a decade ago, you should have seen the reaction from our floor crew. They turned a quizzical gaze upon me, as if I had just spoken ill words about a beloved relative. Apparently, "ET" was a childhood favorite of everyone in the room. And then it hit me- I had first seen "ET" as an adult.

It's funny how our opinions of movies are based partially on life experience. As a child, we approach the subject matter from a completely different perspective. One of my fondest childhood memories was sitting in a darkened theater in Goldsboro watching the original "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back". I was 4 years old, and highly impressionable. I remember the sheer "cool factor" of space ships firing at giant, walking metal puppies (my first impression of the AT-AT walkers, for you Star Wars buffs). And I'll never forget feeling a little scared when a vision of Darth Vader emerged in the swamps of Dagobah to fight Luke Skywalker. Yoda was a character I approached with great caution- part of me was afraid of him, part of me was fascinated. But no matter what happened in the movie, I couldn't take me eyes off that screen; not even when Luke's hand was chopped-off by a light saber (a sight which so alarmed my mother that she didn't allow me to see the sequel, "Return of the Jedi"). I didn't discover what really happened to Han Solo & the rest of the characters until 1987, when the edited version of "Return of the Jedi" was shown on TV.

"The Empire Strikes Back" started my life-long fascination with science fiction films. From Star Wars to Star Trek, He-Man to velociraptors, I credit the world of science fiction for any creativity that spills into my professional life. In many ways, broadcast meteorology is a good marriage of science and art. We have the ability to indulge intellectual pursuits, and display that knowledge with the use of computer graphics, maps, and imagery. And let's face it- we have a wonderful world of creation in which to explore.

People have a tendency to overlook all of the natural wonders around them in pursuit of artificial pleasures. Film critic Roger Ebert once said that people ignore the stars in a night sky because they are too busy trying to find the nearest local ice cream store. Sometimes, we need to slow down and take in the beauty of our own solar system.

This idea of "being still" was the main inspiration behind our recent hurricane special, "Out of this World: Cosmic Storm". We wanted people to take a few minutes out of their busy lives and truly contemplate the scope of the universe in which we live. There are true wonders to behold, if you take the time to experience them.

If you missed the "Out of this World", you can see the full show by following the link below (NOTE- The show originally contained commercial breaks, so there will be a slight pause between each section. The show is fully over when the final credits roll):

http://www.wwaytv3.com/cosmic

(Send comments/questions to Jerry at jjackson@wwaytv3.com)

By: Jerry Jackson