Friday, February 29, 2008

An Absolute Oyster Carnival

I don't know if this entry with link to The Onion adds much value to my blog. Fart this westward: Check The Onion on a regular basis.

I'll bet you armpits to assholes that you didn't see their current entry. I'll take a shit in the dark and henpeck a stewardess that you missed their post about the idiom shortage.

Almost Leap Day 1988

It was a warm day in Lawrence, Kansas on February 26th, 1988. The title card says February 29th and I based that on the in-camera date stamp, but that was a Monday and it was definitely a Friday here. In a part of the tape I did not include in this edit, I passed by Bullwinkle's (a bar) and the place was packed, a common occurrence on Friday in college town, but not on Monday afternoon, not even on Leap Day. Plus nobody I interviewed on camera mentioned Leap Day. That's the official Leap Day disclaimer, now on with the party.

My friends Dave and Rob threw an impromptu gathering at their apartment at 11th and Tennessee in honor of the weather. Dan correctly predicted that the Jayhawks will win the Basketball National Championship. He received a vision from his medallion. Kurt M. stopped by with a pack of smokes and did his best Marilyn Monroe. Kiki and Kevin cuddled with a python. Chris made sweet love to the camera. Rob checked out the 1988 Winter Olympics and Katherina Witt did a jump in time with AC/DC. I can't believe it's been 20 years (give or take three days).

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Psychedelic Hitchcock

Robyn Hitchcock sings The Ghost In You, recorded on 10/31/2003 at the Bottom Line in New York.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hot Streak

I'm bloggin' a blue streak, Jack! I passed 500 posts (since I began blogging in 2004) and I've already posted more entries so far in the first two months of 2008 than I did in all of 2007.

Raspberry Zevon

Say Fowler, were might I find a mp3 of Warren Zevon singing Raspberry Beret? Right here, virtual friend. Recorded in 1990 at the Shadow in Westport, Kansas City, MO.

1970 at the Movies

Have you ever been to a non-kid film and seen a family there with their children. Disgusting wasn't it? Well, I was one of those kids in 1970. Believe it or not my parents took me to see M*A*S*H and many other non G-rated films that year.

The surgical scenes in M*A*S*H were gory but I enjoyed the football game sequence, the scene where Hawkeye and Trapper faked jumping jacks by sitting on top of 55 gallon barrels and HotLips' full-frontal nude scene. The nudity did not shock me, but I was surprised by the reaction of the men. It made a good story on the playground at pre-school the following week. I don't recall where we saw M*A*S*H but I thought the poster art in the lobby with the peace-sign, ladies legs and helmet was cool too.

The Jones family screened Airport at the Glenwood Manor theater on Metcalf. My first disaster film and blockbuster. Van Heflin blew a hole in the side of the lavatory with a briefcase bomb! I wondered if Dean Martin and Barry Nelson were going to be able to land that plane. The kids at pre-school and I discussed the movie and set up our own pretend airplane in the playroom. The Ruth Gordon role was coveted, even by the boys. Apparently more kids saw Airport than M*A*S*H.

They ran The Out Of Towners trailer, starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis, during the previews before Airport. My parents took me back to the Glenwood for that film a few weeks later. Most of the comedy was lost on me. I related more to Jack Lemmon's constant anxiety. The only time I got it was at the end of the film. [Spoiler Alert] Jack's character relaxed on the plane ride home only to see it hijacked to Cuba. Now that's funny.

My Dad was a big movie fan. In fact, he still likes to get together and see a movie. This was especially true when Mom visited Grandma out of town in Cape Girardeau. The boys went to see Beneath the Planet of the Apes over at the old Metro Plaza theaters at 63rd and Paseo. It was in a strip mall, gone now, near where a KCMO police sub-station sits today - east of the old Landing shopping center. I freaked when those nuke worshipping monks peeled off their faces.

I can't remember if I saw the first Planet of the Apes movie. I bet I did - Dad was a major Charlton Heston fan. But I don't have a distinct memory of seeing the first film, like I did when he took me to the drive-in to see Barbarella in 1968 in Columbia, Missouri. Mom was either at work or out of town that night too.

Later in 1970 we saw Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man. It was long, long, long. Why did he keep changing sides? Who was the old man that kept interupting the story? I think we saw this at the Ranchmart theaters. Little Big Man was released in December of 1970 and it's possible I didn't see it until early 1971. I didn't keep a diary. Wish I had.

While we're asking questions you may wonder why my parents took me to the adult selections on this list. Three guesses: 1) We'd been in KC less than a year and they hadn't found any babysitters they liked. 2) They figured the adult part would go over my head, and/or 3) they didn't know any better.

You may wonder how I recall these things 38 years later. I don't know the answer but I think it has something to do with the association to the location. It makes it easier to recall when you also remember the place.

I saw the Boatniks, a Walt Disney movie, but I don't remember where. In fact, I wouldn't have associated it at all with these other movies if I hadn't looked up the list of 1970 films. Did I see it in 1970 or in a subsequent year? Many Disney/kid movies popped up again and again in 2nd run houses like the Dickenson. I can't say for sure, but a lot of people sank into the water in boats with their clothes on and the Walt Disney people thought this was big comedy action.

I can't remember any other movies I saw that year. I only have these fragments and now that I've committed them to paper and posted them to the web log, my brain may flush them. Of course, that's part of the reason for the blog in the first place. It's okay with me. I guess it's okay with you too because you're still reading this.

I'd call this list the first in a series but the weird thing about 1971 is that I don't have a list of non-kid films I saw that year. Why didn't my parents carry on the tradition? Did they figure out the sitter situation? Nope. My little brother was born on May 5, 1971. We took a big family movie break that year. One exception: I saw the Steve McQueen racing epic LeMans that year. Boring. I remembered Diamonds Are Forever, at the Plaza theater, with Dad but not Mom in either December of '71 or January of '72. There's a scene near the end where Blofeld threatened Earth with a space laser. He toyed with Bond when he suggested they neutralize Kansas, but dismissed the notion - nobody would hear about it for years. Boo!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Bowling Report for February 25th

We won a game tonight! I felt like those Oklahoma State fans after they beat KU on Saturday. We missed a second victory by three pins in game two. We bowled a solid 3130 series with no team handicap score under a thousand pins but lost. Tim returned and bowled a stellar 564 series. Jeff had two games of 170 or better. Only six weeks left in the season.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oh Baby, Oscar Blogging (OB)

For those of me who followed the Academy Award telecast through this blog, and to those of you who read this days or even weeks later, let me tell you what I did. I decided to post entries to this web log throughout tonights Academy Award television broadcast on ABC.

Remember six or seven years ago when live blogging during the Oscars was cool? Fast forward to 2008 and this here blog. I resolved to post 365 entries this year, so fasten your Bette Davis seatbelts, it's going to be a googly-eyed, kinescope crazy, screen captured from my living room, bumpy, and slightly out of focus ride.

Lets begin with the obligatory Jack Nicolson shot. I promise to turn off the flash after this. Ten posts appear on the front page, a few more on the next page. Please peruse the 'older posts' for full-frontal old post action.

OB - Best of the Best

Winners of the Best Director Oscar, Ethan and Joel Coen, and their producer cohort, the other guy, accept for the academy award for best picture, No Country For Old Men. Ethan secretly sends a message to Carol Burnett's grandmother.

OB - Daniel Day Lewis

Best Actor 2007. He thanked three generations of his family and made it work and he genuflected in front of Helen Mirren. I think he ab-libbed that move despite the fact I've had it planned for many years.

OB - Best Original Screenplay

I once knew a Diablo Cody. He was a level twelve War Mage with a withering staff of mithral flame, but he was a video game dork, and certainly no Academy Award winner. Congratulations Diablo, keep writing!

OB - In Memorium

Its a bittersweet and powerful sequence - the In Memorium montage and I love it. It's my favorite part of the Academy Award telecast. No matter how closely I attempt to keep up with the obituary column, there's always a couple of surprises in this part of the show, like the death of Miyoshi Umeki, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in 1957 for Sayonara, but is perhaps best remembered as Mrs. Livingston on the TV show The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

OB - This Was Cool

The orchestra started playing before this woman, Marketa Irglova, got to say a few words of thanks for winning part of the award for best original song. Glen Hansard, her writing partner, gushed a few heartfelt thank yous and then the band swooped in. So they brought her out from back stage after the break.

OB - That's HD TV

Spielberg, you're freaking me out.

OB - Viva La France

Et un mille paris sont rinc├ęs en le bas de la toilette.

OB - More Hollywood Glitter

Halle Berry and Dame Judi Dench announce the award for sound editing.

OB - Tildas Win!

And the winner for best pair of Tildas in a supporting role go to the woman behind Tilda Swinton at tonight's Academy Award telecast.

OB - Welcome Back to the Public Eye

Owen Wilson announces the winner for best Live Action Short Film.

OB - Bardem Wins

Javier Bardem wins best supporting actor for the coin-flipping killer in No Country Fro, Old Man.

OB - I Swear

Steve Carell said "shit" during the list of nominees for best animated feature, and one of the producers for Surfs Up has a last name that sounded for a moment like an F-bomb (Chris Buck). Ratatouille won the friggin statue.

A Cautionary (Hat and) Tale

Kids, don't jack with the magician's gear at Six Flags:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Personal iPod Shuffle

Singles I've been listening to lately:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Visit Don Thompson

My virtual friend Don Thompson and I share many interests. I played alternative music as a disc jockey in college and he was in an alternative band that we played on KJHK (Boxes of Love). His list of regional alternative bands of the 70s-90s is the de facto benchmark for the community. He's still making music as part of Girl For Samson. He runs the first and only on-line shrine to The Balancing Act, one of my favorite late 80s college rock combos. He collects old yearbooks. Here's something you may not know about me: if you invite me to your house, I will ask to see your old yearbooks on the third visit. He is a madman of the scanner, posting thousands of historic photos of Kansas City at like this one from 1924 of flappers posing at the Scout statue in Penn Valley Park, Kansas City, Missouri. I hope to meet him someday.

Melin Wins $25,000

I read today where Lawrence, KS film critic Eric Melin of Lawrence won $25,000 on the Meredith daytime version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire this week. That's a nice chunk of trivia there. Good job, Eric. The writers gave him a scrunchy in the loins as he went for 100 grand when they posted an obscure Merchant-Ivory question. No Remains of the Day or Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, oh hell no. Meanwhile in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino shot his TV screen out with a .357 magnum.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pantonal Sunset

I have nothing to say today. I'm too tired to blog. Please enjoy this music video courtesy of volvoxburger:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Bowling Report for February 18th

We got swept by the 7th place team. We're the 8th place team and last night was a position round in league bowling. Our squad might finish last this season. We're like the Kansas City Royals of bowling.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

On the Border

Copyright Aerial Great aerial photo here of my friend Joe's old rental house. He lived at the villa style ranch featured in this photo in the mid 80s. The LA Ramblers practiced there he and his roommates threw parties in the backyard. This photo appeared in the LJ World this morning. An Ohio company that snaps aerial photos of rural dwellings took this in the 1970s. The equestrian equipment was gone by the time Joe moved in. I searched for this house on a recent trip to Lawrence but it has been torn down. It used to be on the edge of town. Now Free State High School is close by and the whole area resembles Overland Park suburbia more than the borderlands of a small town.

Another band, The Backsliders, used to live in an old farm house a mile or so west of this house on the south side of 6th street, up on the hill that was definitely the edge of the edge of town. I used to visit drummer Todd there. Or perhaps he took me there to visit. I can't recall. That place is gone as well. I don't have a photo of that building.

Down south of town, out by the old KLZR studios, another group of guys used to live in a place they called the ranch, where many keg parties took place including one on Halloween 1985 with a roasted pig. Yes, the edge of Lawrence was a good place to live if you liked loud music and big parties. I suppose it still is, but you have to drive further to get there now.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

David Groh R.I.P.

David Groh, better known as Rhoda's husband Joe, passed away earlier this week. There's a nice obit here. See if you can spot Joe in the closing credits of the CBS 50th anniversary special from 1978. I'll give you a hint, he's wearing a tuxedo.

Basketball Thoughts This Morning

KU honors the 1988 National Championship squad with a ceremony at halftime during today's game against Colorado. Many former players and coaches are in town to see the game, visit with each other and recall their glory days on the hardwood.

Larry Brown is in town for the weekend and I remember the big game against Oklahoma on April 4, 1988 for the title. CBS analyst Billy Packer said KU must control the tempo, they could not run with the Sooners. Long story short: KU ran with the sooners in the first half - the game was tied 50-50 at halftime, an incredible score, and went on to win a close game, 83-79.

Brown got a lot of credit for running with Oklahoma. It wasn't until I was listening to a radio interview last year with Danny Manning that I learned that the players, and not Coach Brown, decided to run. This nugget was confirmed by LJ-World reporter Ryan Wood in an article today. Credit Manning with that idea. I'm sure coach Brown said something in the locker room at halftime. They slowed it down a bit in the second stanza.

My KU years match Larry's tenure exactly (1983-1988) and I'm the same age now as Coach Brown was when he started at KU (42). He seemed older then than I do now, but I'm no basketball coach. I will enjoy the KU game today, and better yet, I get to see my 3rd grader play later this morning. His team is the Stanley Slammers. Not as many alley oop dunks, but they love the fast break.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Video Capture #1: 600 Block of Mass

I figured out how to capture still images from my clunky PC video editing software. I thought about the picture in my previous post from Google maps and I remembered that my friend Alex and I shot some footage of downtown Lawrence in 1986. Let's compare still images from that videotape with Google map screen shots. Here's the first comparison:

Lawrence, KS 1986

From left to right: The vacant Trailways bus terminal, junior achievement office, and former Lawrence Opera House, 600 Block of Massachusetts street, May 1986.

copyright Google 2007

The Free State Brewery, La Prima Tazza coffee house, and Liberty Hall, circa August 2007. Click on the photos for larger views.

Eric Melin on WWTBAM

Lawrence film critic Eric Melin appears on the daytime version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire on Monday and Tuesday. Check out John Niccum's article and I'm not touting it because I'm quoted in it, though I don't get quoted very often. Read the article first and then come back for my comments.

Okay, you're back. The quotes are accurate but I want to add that Millionaire fever swept the nation around the time that I first attempted to get on the program via the open phone lines in the fall of 1999. I didn't succeed and actually appear on TV until almost 15 months later in December 2000. ABC ran the show four nights a week then. I think they had a fever. Anyway, I don't want to suggest that I appeared at the very moment the Regis zeitgeist peaked.

I also don't want to disparage my fellow contestants. While I did think the previous contestant's decision to walk with 8k was well, um, schmucky, he himself was not a schmuck. He was a gentleman and a class act. He told me his boss wasn't keen on him leaving the office for more than a day. If he had stayed, the show would have ended, the next tape date was the following morning, and he very well could have put himself in a perilous position at work that way. Perhaps that weighed on his mind. More importantly, if he hadn't quit when he did, I wouldn't have made it to the hot seat at all. So I owe a lot to Mr. S. of New Jersey.

I almost walked at 8k when I arrived at that same spot in the game with no lifelines left, such are the Jedi mind games, the doubt, and the pressure. Easy to say schmuck before the chair, not so easy while in the chair.

Melin must do okay, the article sidebar mentioned a Tuesday watch party and you don't throw one of those if you walk with 8k. Good luck Eric.

Go Street With Google Maps

Copyright Google 2008
Google added several more cities to the street view version of Google maps this week. Lawrence, KS Overland Park, KS and the Kansas City metro are covered. You can see a picture of a location when you enter an address in Google Maps. My friend Michael left Lawrence in 1989 and never returned. He moved to New York and a return trip to Kansas isn't likely anytime soon. Now he can cruise the streets of Lawrence as if he were there, and the way they captured the data with 360 degree clarity is impressive. Lawrence photos were snapped in August 2007.

The software isn't flawless, addresses in the maps application are only approximate in the street view pop-up flash player, for example, and some locations have been excluded or overlooked, or kluged. I tried to cruise past William Burroughs' last home on Learnard Avenue and it skipped to the next block for no apparent reason. These are minor complaints. The body of work, the scope of this project is unreal, and I hope Google will keep distinct versions archived for historic reasons. I'd like to cruise 2007 Lawrence again, say, in 50 years. Approximate virtual time travel.

I zoomed over to Kansas City and found my current home. It was a sunny day when the Google Street View cruiser with the 360 degree camera strapped to the roof, drove past my drive (spot it in street view anytime by panning down). Oddly, all three of my childhood homes in the Roeland Park and Fairway area were not covered. The neighborhood between Roe & Nall at 55th street isn't included. I lived in the 5400 block of Rosewood from 1969 to 1974. We moved to Fairway between my 3rd and 4th grade year near St. Agnes church. In 1976, we moved three blocks west past the Shawnee Indian mission. That neighborhood is also absent from the google street view. A small omission when you consider the scope of the entire project, but a sizeable loss for me personally, or should I say for that time traveler of the future who might like to see what my stomping grounds looked like in 2007.

Jello Biafra Sighting

From the Thrillpeddlers website. Check out the Stealth Bomber bolo tie.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sorry Ladies, I'm Taken

A New York Times article by Tara Parker-Pope suggests one secret to keep a long relationship fresh is to avoid the routine date night. Go somewhere new it says. Do something different. I asked my wife where she wanted to go. "Fortune Wok," she said. We've been there before. Another secret to keeping the wife happy; let her pick the restaurant. Our first trip to the Brazilian restaurant for Elephant steaks will have to wait.

Tonight I'll order a new entree from the Fortune Wok menu. Call me crazy, but I'm forsaking my old stand-by, General Tso's Chicken and a cup of coffee, for the Moo Goo Gai Pan - without the pan (thanks Flash Bazbo). Plus a pot of hot tea for my blushing bride.

Who says you need to go to Shakey's Pizza to hear decent banjo music. I've got my good buddy right here with me. Let me spend 10 minutes tuning it and then I'll plunge into Swanee River. I'm sure the other diners will enjoy a rousing rendition of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song too.

You know who likes the banjo? My kids, that's who. I won't make them stay out in the mini-van this year. Come on in, gang. "Oh waiter, a round of Shirley Temples please, and boxes for the leftovers." Nothing says romance like food hoarding. This is the best Valentine's Day ever. Thanks New York Times.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Bowling Report for February 11th

We won one game out of four awarded tonight at Mission Bowl. We bowled well in the first two games but came up short in the third and final game. We seem to bring out the best in our opponents. I was our high 10 (177) and high 30 (484) and believe me peoples, that's never a good sign for us. Our stud from last week, Brent, was off this week. We rarely front the same lineup two weeks running. It's a long season (33 weeks). So we'll try to get 'em next time.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Roy Scheider, R.I.P.

Roy Scheider, the actor who played Dr. Benway in the film adaptation of Naked Lunch, died today. He was 75. Here are my favorite Roy Scheider performances, in no particular order:
  • Marathon Man
  • All That Jazz
  • Jaws
  • 52 Pick-up
  • The French Connection

Add the titles to your Netflix queue if you haven't seen them. Not a dud in the bunch if you ask me. Rent Blue Thunder and 2010 for extra, boffo, box-office credit.


Create your own punk riffs here. Flash required.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Salad Dressing Days

I sublet a room at a place called The Hippy Club back in 1986. The boys named it The Hippy Club before I got there and though I stayed only two months, it was a summer arrangement, I called it The Hippy Club almost immediately, and never questioned their judgment about the name, or their reasons for adopting that moniker though none of them were hippies. Most of us aspired to be punk rockers, and perhaps the name was an ironic commentary on our true musical interests. The club part of the name made more sense. There were household traditions, some that I didn't understand at first, like the mantle top display of celebrity footwear. But others I came to appreciate, and even instigate, like eating the evening meal in front of an open refrigerator. Oh, those were heady times my friend. We drank hot sauce straight from the bottle and dropped fresh produce down our shorts. Somebody washed the dishes, but not always. We lived in the moment.

We pledged our loyalty to one another, flaunted our access to fresh fruit and electricity, and attended summer school with a nod and a wink. I suppose every group of college guys that ever rented a tumble-down house together imagined their little traditions, nicknames, and rituals set the standard for higher learning hi-jinx. The Hippy Club was a cool place to live, even cooler when we dined full-frontal with the Swiss cheese and the mayonnaise that pretended to be salad dressing.

That was over 20 years ago. Surely you will understand, in this work-a-day world of ours, how a button-down guy like me with a penchant for hyphenation, might long for the days when a carry-out entree tasted better while on bended knee under the seven-watt glow of an open refrigerator door.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mary Woronov - Cult Film Star

Here are the soap stars of 1974 and the answer to my latest quiz. Mary Woronov hung out with Lou Reed and Andy Warhol years before she joined the cast of Somerset. You may remember her from roles in Rock 'n' Roll High School or Eating Raoul. Visit her website.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Comedy Explained

The same friend who told me about the rule, henceforth known as the wardrobe rule for double lives, once proffered this corollary about comedy: sometimes a banana is just a banana. Actually, it was John Belushi as Sigmund Freud, who originated that take on the classic cigar line back in the golden age of SNL. But seriously folks, it reminds me of a little joke, and if you don't get it I'll explain it afterwards. I explain myself, mostly to women who I've disappointed. But I digress. Okay, here's the funny. It's from National Lampoon magazine (circa 1989). Question: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer: One woman is perfectly capable of replacing a light bulb.

But I gotta tell you, ladies and germs, these next two chicks know a joke or two without the cigars and bananas. Give it up for a couple of coastal gals with all the gadgets, Alison and Wendy, explaining jokes to each other in their spare time via their personal chat devices. Guys, get ready for some all-cap, IM comedy action! A shocking chat transcript ripped straight from the pages of the Internet, with phrases like "500 pound pussy" and "my cat is licking my arm". That's not all. Doff your comedy top hat and head over to the Smithsonian website funhouse. You'll find a gentleman there who can explain comedy, even to a link huckster like me.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Your 2nd Double Life

How do you know if you're leading a double life? A wise friend once said it requires a separate wardrobe. This is true for Superman and Ku Klux Klansmen. It's nice to know that I don't fit that criteria. I have one shabby wardrobe. I keep all my clothes together, except for my suits. Those hang in a different closet. Okay, this just in: special exemption for suits. There's no need to get carried away with this double life thing over a suitcoat, slacks, and tuxedos too. I don't own a tux, but I got married in one and I'm still holding up my end of that deal. These outfits are for special occasions that don't involve running faster than a speeding bullet or burning a cross.

Such rules don't apply in the virtual world. Did you hear about the married man who created a Second Life avatar, married a virtual woman, bought virtual land, and had virtual sex, all without changing out of his sweatpants? The joke's on him though, the "woman" he married turned out to be teamster from New Jersey. Perhaps they will arrange a real world meeting at a turnpike rest stop. Not the kind with a Burger King and a gift shop. Too busy. I'm talking about the other kind with a tiny cinderblock restroom and guys in sweatpants lurking and looking for love.

If you're thinking of leading a double life, ask youself, can you afford the sweatpants? Thanks and drive safely.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Tonight at Mission Bowl - Brent's 642

Our anchor Brent bowled a 642 series that included a 268 scratch game, good for 2nd best score by any of our league bowlers so far this season, but it wasn't enough. We earned a single victory in our head to head match teamwise. The rest of us were mighty inconsistent. On the up side, we watched KU take the lead over MU on the monitors. (They mounted TV sets every four lanes so no sports event goes unwatched). Someday they'll ban smoking in Mission but not tonight. I smell like an ashtray and I don't even smoke. But I'm not complaining. Bowling is fun.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

KJHK Studios 1986

My first YouTube experiment. Its home movie footage shot on Memorial Day, 1986 in Lawrence, KS. My buddy Alex and I took the camcorder out for random captures and stopped by the shack. The air studio was downstairs in those days. Watch Tom cue a vinyl record. Ooh! See the fabulous manual typewriters used by the news staff. Marvel at the jump cuts and vain attempts to keep the frame focused. Note: I saw The Third Man in film class that year so I was big on Dutch tilt, hence the references to it being a "crooked place". Yes, always call attention to your camera techniques. A real splice of life, all 1:51.

Super Bowl Narcissism

...powered by blog! As long as I live, I'll always be the same age as whatever number Superbowl is being played on the day they play it. I hope I live to see Superbowl C.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

We Like the Bronze

Last night was Pinewood Derby night for our cub scout pack and the boy and I took our project up there to see how she run. She run good. Skyler placed 3rd overall and moved on to Pinewood regionals. Holy crap. How did that happen? I'm the son of a psychologist. His tools were Rorschach inkblots. What's our secret? You have to get the wheels level and straight and you have to make sure the axles are smooth. No mill marks. And the weight. You gotta max out the weight at 5 oz. All common pinewood knowledge. And that's it. We have some smooth axles. The wheels spins forever. That's our secret: good axles. Skyler claimed a trophy for 3rd place in his age group, and one for 3rd place overall. (The top three finishers were all 3rd graders) But if you ask him he'll tell you: He doesn't race for trophies. He races for the adrenaline rush or perhaps it was the sugar rush from the Sprite he drank. Either way he was excited and when you have a lad, its fun to see him so happy.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Dale Gadd and Doc Brinkley

The first big lecture hall class I enrolled in at KU was Intro to Radio and Television with Professor Dale Gadd at Wescoe Hall in the fall of 1983. Gadd, the former KJHK faculty advisor, was in his final year at school after 11 years on the hill. He announced his intent to depart for Hollywood. He wanted to pitch a TV script he wrote for a black comedy about aging called "Silver Threads" and was encouraged by conversations he had with Norman Lear about it.

The highlight of the class was Gadd's Doc Brinkley lecture, a full hour devoted to the quack surgeon and patent medicine peddler from Milford, Kansas who made a fortune 'restoring' male virility back in the 1920s. Gadd had a full slide show of archival photos to accompany his lecture (It may still exist as a collection at the Spencer research library). I saw him walk over with a box of slides under his arm prior to his presentation.

Brinkley ran his own radio station in the days when they weren't real tight about transmitter power regulation in addition to having the equivalent of the worlds only source of 'boner medication' (spoiler alert: It was goat testicles). People from Denver to Chicago picked up the station at night. He put musical acts on between pitches too and when the authorities came after him, he moved to Mexico and started over, but not before he almost became Governor of Kansas.

Gadd left town as advertised at the end of the term. His Hollywood sojourn lasted a few years. He gave it a shot but I saw him back in Lawrence in 1988 or 1989. He died in 1995. It's too bad Gadd didn't seize the opportunity to write a book about Doc Brinkley. He might have saved this gentleman a lot of trouble.