Perusing the hinterlands of the US Copyright office yields a wealth of useful information:
Wanna protect that killer jambalaya recipe? Just add a dollop of “substantial literary expression” and go to FL 122. Be careful, though; “if you have secret ingredients to a recipe that you do not wish to be revealed, you should not submit your recipe for registration, because applications and deposit copies are public records.”
What about your Elvis sighting? “Copyright law does not protect sightings. However, copyright law will protect your photo (or other depiction) of your sighting of Elvis.” Just send your $35 to register your very own special Elvis.