Wednesday, December 27, 2006
The mechanics of the game were somewhat ridiculous, because it was impossible to create and sustain a lasting simulation. I lined up the opposing teams and turned on the motor. They crashed into each other and occasionally a player vibrated in a straight line somewhere. I repeated until boredom set in. The game contained a felt football and a working kicker to attempt field goals and extra points. Note: The felt football did not travel far, even in ideal wind conditions. Despite these shortcomings it was a cool gift and I don't remember any thing else I received that year.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I get ideas when I'm far from the keyboard. I discovered a buried gun while motoring down the interstate once, triggered by Elmer Bernstein and a memory fragment.
Frank Mouris had too many ideas and found a way to show us. Hannah Weiner saw words everywhere and wrote them down in a series of journals.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
It's fairly episodic as it tracks Kenny and his pals Doug and Sherman as they skateboard, flirt with girls, pull pranks, and avoid the town bully. I related to the characters, I even had the same hairstyle as Doug did when I was a kid. I liked this movie a lot and then it disappeared. It vaporized after HBO ran it. Gone.
A couple years later I flipped through the dial late one night when I spied Doug on the screen again. Only this time Doug wasn't running from the town bully, he was running from the Tall Man. It was Phantasm. I knew of Phantasm from its iconic silver sphere, but I was blown away. I didn't know there was a connection between the two films. And yet, there was young Michael Baldwin, riding his bike down the street, as he and Dan McCann did in Kenny and Company. There were other actors from Kenny that showed up in Phantasm, most notably the incomparable Reggie Bannister.
Phantasm developed a following immediately and spawned three sequels but Kenny and Company was hard to find. There was no VHS release. I posted a comment about the film on IMDB in 2001 and for several years, I got the same query from strangers: Do you have a copy of this movie? I did not.
They finally released Kenny and Company on DVD in 2005 and I watched it last night. It held up well. Watch this movie if you like:
- films about the 1970s
- independent, small budget movies
- Phantasm and want to see some of its cast in different roles
This film has "emotional glue". Emotional Glue is a Don Coscarelli term. It's what makes you care more about the characters, allows you connect with them, with thematic elements that transcend the plot. The scene in Phantasm that provides the glue is when Mike Baldwin follows his older brother everywhere on his bike because he doesn't want to lose him, even if his bro is just driving to the grocery store, he'd pedal like mad to keep tabs on him. Phantasm had a heart.
There's a sub-plot in Kenny that provides glue. Coscarelli did a masterful job of dealing with a common childhood situation: the death of the family pet. He pulled it off without shedding a tear. He allowed me to connect the emotional dots without hitting me over the head with it. The emotional glue scene in Kenny and Company is the 360 panoramic shot of the vet's office waiting room while Bob the dog goes to a happier place.
Am I raving? Heck yeah. Go rent Kenny and Company. One more thing - I loved the music too. Put it in your Netflix queue. Do it!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Admission is a suggested five dollars (support the arts!).
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Rich Hall was the early marquee name in the Comedy Channel lineup that featured THBAG, Rachel Sweet, Allan Havey, and Tommy Sledge, (the stand-up detective). Hall hosted Onion World, a weekly omnibus of various comedic elements and occasionally, live music. It wasn't a terrific series by any stretch. Hall wasn't very funny. I remember he took the show to Ireland for some segments. Why must one go to Ireland to find the funny? Seemed like he was milking his budget for a free trip. The program lasted a season or two and was unremarkable except for the appearance of one of my favorite bands.
Here's Big Dipper doing
Friday, November 03, 2006
The Love Song of J. Frederick Flintstone
As the Bedrock sun is spread out against the sky
Like a Brontoburger laid out upon a table
And in the cave the women come on through
Speaking of the Great Gazoo
I am not Joe Rockhead nor was I meant to be
A stone quarry worker willing to bowl a frame or two
I grow old, I grow old
Shall I wear my saber-toothed tiger suit rolled?
Shall I prepare bronto ribs to eat? Power a car with my feet?
I hear Pebbles and Bam-Bam singing each to each
And in the cave the women came on through saying
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Thai.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors,
And say 'To-morrow is Thai food day:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Thai food day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our dishes.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Llad Now Gapow, Pad Thai Noodle,
Yum Talay Salad, or Tabasco is no Sweet,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son.
Monday, October 30, 2006
This is 7711 60th street North, former site of the Beaux Arts coffee house in Pinellas Park, Florida. I took this picture a couple days ago during my annual visit to the in-laws' house. I didn't know it until recently, but they live close by, a couple of miles northeast of this location. It sits near ball fields and railroad tracks, half a block north of Park Blvd, the main east-west drag through Pinellas Park. It's a shame they couldn't preserve the spot where Jim Morrison read poetry and Jack Kerouac hung out during his days in the St. Petersburg area. Thanks to Mari Eliza for providing the exact address. Much to my surprise, my father in-law, Tom Wise, remembered the three story wood frame house and guided me here. He moved to the area in the early 90s, a few years before the city condemned the property. He said it was in pretty bad shape near the end (it was gutted by fire some years before), which may explain why local politicos didn't save it.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Screw Watergate, I won a brand new Vega.
Here's a poem I wrote about the Price is Right. It was for a radio bit we did about game show poetry on KFKF in 1996.
That Bob Barker's got it made
on TV's Price is Right.
Showcase models everyday
and cocktails every night.
Janice, Holly, and babes galore.
You won a brand new car!
I have my plane fare nearly saved
in a Hellman's mayonnaise jar.
But I wish they'd take it on the road
and come to my home town.
So I could hear Johnny Olson say-
Fowler, come on down!
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
A terrible stench hit the Jones family the moment we emerged from our car in the parking lot. A fellow apple lover guessed it was a cider sewage pond, bobbing and bubbling somewhere near the parking lot. How bad was the stink? It smelled like Bigfoot took a dump, fell over dead in mid road-apple and nobody buried him.
There were other minor annoyances like pricey rides and activities (10 dollars for face painting), and no hand gel in the porta-johns, but the big stink, that was too much. I actually hung out in the potpourri booth on country craft row to catch my breath.
Don't go to the Louisburg Cider Mill Ciderfest. It stinks.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Pickard noticed that out-of-state visitors in particular expressed a measure of uneasiness during visits to her Flint Hills property. What was it about Kansas, and as the author pointed out, the Kansas landscape in particular, that made this theme reappear?
There's no place to hide when the unexpected happens: the act of God, the act of violence. Safety seems far away, even in the Flint Hills of Kansas. It's extra unexpected and then you're extra screwed when it does happen.
I'm glad I stayed for Pickard's speech. I thought I might skip out early when I arrived. It was my first time at Pierson Auditorium and I imagined a theatre style venue with rows of seats and a stage with podium. It turned out to be flat, empty space with banquet style seating, not conducive to late arrivals and early departures. I stayed to be polite and I learned something about Kansas literature that I never considered. One doesn't have to travel to Twin Peaks to sense dread and evil lurking outside the window, and for a writer working in Kansas, that's good.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
From left: John, Bill, and Ron on stage last Sunday in Lawrence, KS. Drummer Woody is just out of range. The Embarrassment are my favorite band of all time for many reasons; they've got heart and a sense of humor, unique qualities for rock stars. My favorite song from the show was "Two Week Vacation".
Here's another picture of the Micronotz in action. From left: Steve Eddy on drums, original lead singer Dean Lubensky, and guitarist John Harper. The Micronotz surprised everyone by playing three songs for the crowd who awaited the arrival of the Embarrassment. Matt Kesler and Jay Hauptli are not pictured but also appeared with the group. This is perhaps the least blurry of the snapshots I took of the group.
Monday, August 21, 2006
That's Embarrassment guitarist Bill Goffrier on the left with KJHK alum Tom Hoyt at the Free State Brewery before the concert Sunday night in Lawrence. I heard Bill and fellow band mate John Nichols were in the building but I was surprised when Bill actually appeared at Tom's table of KJHK alumni. I rounded the corner in time to take this photo and shake Bill's hand. Last Sunday was the 4th time I saw the band, and the first time since 1989. I was lucky enough to see them twice in one day on December 31, 1986 when they played Cogburns/The Bottleneck. The Micronotz opened for them and Dean Lubensky came back for that one as well.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I got off the plane and went straight to this place for lunch. It was excellent and I also liked the view of the bay or harbor or whatever they call it there.
My high school chum Patrick and I scheduled a big night for Saturday, so we did a low-key excursion to a Thai restaurant on Friday night. It was good. The place looked like it used to be a Sizzler many years ago. This restaurant is in a neighborhood north of downtown where Asian establishments line the streets for blocks.
I grabbed a bagel and coffee to go on Saturday morning, so I'm not going to try to find the California Bagel place where we went.
No complaints about this place either. Big portions, the retro-deli atmosphere, and a hip clientele.
Down to Pacific Beach where we squeezed in at the bar in an otherwise packed restaurant on the sea. I had the fish tacos. Wonderful.
It was father's day on that Sunday, so I didn't see the regular menu, but this place was fun. Upscale breakfast with mondo portions.
I only scratched the surface here. San Diego has no shortage of good restaurants. In case you wondered if all I did was eat, I did not. I also went here, here, and here, and I stayed in the shadow of this place.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
I couldn't get back to sleep so I turned on the television and PBS ran a special about sharks. A shark expert from South Africa put some attractor (chum?) in the water on a string and bent down on a platform at Ocean level. When a Great White shark came calling, he reached out and put his hand on the underside of the shark's nose. The shark had some kind of instinctive reaction where it opened its mouth and fell over backward into the water. The website described it as momentary paralysis. Here's a picture from the special. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it, sleep-deprived as I was.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Friday, June 23, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I just saw Paul two months ago and he didn't say a word about the Cancer. I had the fortunate chance to get to know him and write about him through his association and friendship with Jack Kerouac...Paul sent me a copy of his book he released in the 70s called Uleta Blues and Haikus. Far from his persona of playing the heavy in movies, Paul was a most humble, artistic and unassuming man the times I spoke with him. He was just in Orlando visiting the home where Kerouac lived, and remeniscing about hanging out with the great Beat writer while Paul was still playing minor league baseball. Gleason claimed that it was while seeing Splendor in the Grass with Kerouac at an Orlando movie house, that he was inspired to make acting his next career. What a great move it was. I'll miss Paul and feel glad I got to know him the last few years of his life. (Comments originally posted at cinematical.com, reprinted with permission of the author.)
Kealing is a K.U. graduate and author of Kerouac in Florida, Where the Road Ends.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Hugh and I were students in a video production class at KU's Jolliffe Hall back in 1986 and he impressed me with his flair for shooting and editing. He did a piece where he shot footage of downtown Lawrence street scenery and edited it with music by Kraftwerk. It flowed from shot to shot, something that didn't come easily for most beginners, but it did for Hugh. Our university equipment was ancient but that didn't phase him. There were no camcorders. We carried a large VCR with shoulder strap for location shooting and we had to "white balance" the camera everytime we used it to get the proper spectrum of colors. Hugh's the kind of guy who shouldered a big load and he's seen some big events too.
He witnessed the Mir space station's fall to earth. He got a kiss from Elle MacPherson, a childhood friend. And most recently, Hugh the hero, though I'm sure he wouldn't be comfortable with that moniker - tried to save the life of Richard Carleton after the reporter for the Australian version of 60 Minutes collapsed during a press conference last Sunday, May 7th.
Thanks to Tim Savage for the update.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Cattle and Cane is a song that I forgot about for many years until I rediscovered it on a scratchy cassette tape I found at my house in 1990. I had lots of cassettes and a jambox at my apartment in Lawrence in the mid 80s. Sometimes I'd pop in a blank cassette and record KJHK, knowing that I'd listen later, perhaps in my car outside of the broadcast range of the station, and find something worthwhile. This is what happened with Cattle and Cane. I went walking for exercise one summer day in 1990 and popped in an unlabelled tape. It was KJHK mainstay Vicky (now Victoria) Sloan from an airshift done three or four years previously and Ms. Sloan always did a good job. She knew music and her knowledge was my reward that day as evidenced by her inclusion of that song by the The Go-Betweens providing the soundtrack for me.
Later in the tape she played Snowman, by XTC, another indie pop gem. Let's hope Andy Partridge remains in good health.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
"How was the party?" someone asked me at class the following Monday. "Pretty good," I replied, "the Tan Man was there." That's all one had to say. There was no need to gauge a party barometer beyond that statement. The appearance of the Tan Man said it all and here's why.
The Tan Man was not a social creature. Oh sure, he spent part of each school day at Wescoe Beach catching rays, and he wasn't the grumpy sort. But the Tan Man didn't make the scene after dark. He loved the sun and he worked nights. Another famous Lawrence personality, The Olde-Hipeye, also put your party into high status with his patronage, but Matthew was a night owl, a frequent visitor to evening functions. His attendance said less about the magnitude of your gathering than the sight of this gentle man, who rode a bike donated by the K.U. class of 1981.
John Schneider, AKA The Tan Man, disappeared from his concrete sun perch in the late 1980s. I wondered what happened. His back was beyond tan, it was the color and consistency of a well basted turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Did he die of cancer or perhaps leave town for warmer climes? Praise the Lord and pass the sun screen. The Tan Man Lives!
Friday, April 28, 2006
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I lost that 45 and didn't think much of it until I got to talking with an avid record collector years later. He traded me a copy for something else I had and much to my surprise, when I played it in the production room at the radio station where I worked at the time, all the voice overs mentioned Slurpee, not ICEE.
Yes, it's true. ICEE and Slurpee are one and the same. The original concoction was invented by Omar Knedlik of Coffeyville, Kansas. That sounds like a name out of Mad Magazine. Omar marketed ICEE and ICEE machines in Kansas and a few other Midwestern states and eventually sold the rights to 7-11 in 1965. They rebranded it the Slurpee and sold it coast to coast. There must have been a wrinkle in the contract that kept the ICEE brand (complete with polar bear mascot) in Omar's legacy outlets here in the Midwest. ICEE may be dead, but I saw the logo on an office building at Johnson Drive and I-35 in Merriam, KS the other day. Perhaps the spirit of Omar Knedlik lives on.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Thursday, April 13, 2006
I wasn't a serious collector of Wacky stickers at first. I peeled them and stuck them on my bedroom door. I soon realized they were more fun to collect than to actually stick on stuff. I have a distinct memory of being home from school one day in the 3rd grade. It was one of those elementary holidays for teacher in-service or something. I was bored with daytime television so I rode my bike up to the Quik-Trip in Roeland Park and dropped 30 cents on some Wacky Packages. What a thrill to open a pack of stickers and see what parodies were inside. The Topps folks issued a new round of stickers four times a year and you always knew when the new series was in stores. They changed the color of the wax wrapper to let you know.
I developed this Wacky Package lust that day in 3rd grade. The problem was that I didn't have any money. I looked under couch cushions and in desk drawers at the house. I scrounged up a dime and a nickel and rode up to the store for three more packs. I think I did this two or three times that day. It wasn't good financial planning but it was good exercise.
I began purchasing my stickers by the box. They shipped the cards in little cardboard cases for easy display. Each box contained about 40 packs of stickers. The hidden whammy was that some stickers were more prevalent than others. A typical series had 30 different stickers. Some of those were rare. I found out why. Topps produced each series on a giant contact sheet. During the design phase, they'd occasionally drop an idea. This created a hole in the sheet and they'd fill it with a duplicate. That's why some stickers appeared in the packs more often than others.
I out grew Wacky Packages about the time they stopped producing the original stickers in 1977. I'm not sure why I got tired of them. I think it was a combination of other interests and the fact that the designers had already parodied most of the best known consumers products.
I don't remember what happened to my wacky sticker collection. I may have sold it at a garage sale. I wish I'd kept them.
Check out the stickers at Tom's Wacky Package page.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
Friday, March 31, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Saturday, March 11, 2006
When you finish with Lori Cossey's star article, click on over to
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
Monday, January 23, 2006
"Don't post that, it's stupid", it would say, and so I'd refrain, and I don't know, it seems like everything is kind of permeated by that voice, that attitude, for me right now. I'm waiting for some sunshine. In the meantime, I still have to pay the rent.
So I don't know if this is stupid or not, but I have a friend in the music business and he sends me music. Here's what I've been listening to today: NADA SURF - the weight is a gift