Sunday, August 27, 2006

Thank you Raincoaster . . . Thunderbirds Are GO!!

Thanks to Rain, I had a tres cool flashback to my youth.

Yeah, Jonny Quest was pretty cool (especially with his dad having worked on the Nuremberg tribunal and all that) but that was nothing compared to "Thunderbirds Are Go!"

And the live-action movie pretty much sucked air . . .

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I need to be reacclimated to society

Last night, I almost told a fellow band parent to - in a polite paraphrase - to bugger off in an autoerotic manner.

For the last six weeks I've effectively worked seven days a week because of changes in our publishing system. Despite finally being able to take my July 4 holiday day this past Wednesday, I've still pulled about 60 hours of work time not counting 10 hours of commute time.

Friday, I actually got home around 5 p.m. and expected to go watch my son's band play at a high school football game.

As I sat down in the bleachers with my wife and prepared to enjoy a couple of hotdogs with chili, mustard and onions, the 'la presidenta' of the band booster organization appears over my shoulder like a dark, ugly harbinger of doom and asks "Can you help in the concession stand?"

The only thing thrusting its hand between the hammer of my brain and the pistol of my mouth was my wife quickly interjecting; "Oh, I forgot to tell you I signed you up for that."

I did the band booster presidency gig last year, despite working a job 75 miles from home. Somehow I managed to ensure that wieners and chili were thawed in time and in sufficient quantity to feed hundreds of people; that candy was ready in amounts adequate to rot out the dental work of a town's future generations; that cold sodas were available by the hogshead, and that pizzas would arrive on time to satisfy those too uncomprehending to realize that pizza by the slice is not the best delicacy to obtain at a football field concession stand.

And somehow I managed to cajole sufficient parentage to join me in these twice-monthly logistical operations and sometimes return for a second and third turn on the line.

Now for this past Friday: We couldn't have held off a Daughters of the American Revolution tea party. Soda coolers were half filled at best. There were enough wieners cooking to hold off maybe 15 minutes' worth of customers, and the reserve supply was barely enough to fend off a second wave.

And I was so well dressed for the evening's festivities: my dress shirt and t-shirt from work and jeans. Thanks to a parent who lacked even the sense of hope to run screaming, we made 200 hot dogs in 30 minutes, distributed 25 pizzas at 12 slices per, sold off about 300 sodas, and got just enough reinforcements to drive off a Red Chinese regimental assault . . . wait, that was the nightmare I had later that night.

And I'm pretty sure I sweated off 4 pounds.

My wife saved my two hot dogs - they got fed to the dog when I got home. I'm not showing up for another home game this year.

Would you like chili and onions with that?

Friday, August 25, 2006

FE's Dance Party, 8-25

Since arrogance seems to be back in style . . . . it's eclectic night (translation: screw any pretense of a theme)

Oingo Boingo

A little Steely Dan, with David Palmer on lead vocals. Wonder why he didn't survive the lineup . . . .

Never cared for the video, but what a wonderfully apt way to describe my summer

The video's the equivalent of a band wearing its own t-shirts on stage, but the tune's catchy enough . . .

And if we're gonna listen to pop, why not Nick Lowe?

And let's round out the night with a long-haired, overfed leaping gnome . . .

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Speaking of hot air . . .

I have to apologize to everyone for my spottiness the last few weeks. Work has spiraled into a sea state 10 situation and just finally smoothed out this week – thus the uneven state of my blog presence and visits.

Of course, the first thought after I wrote the above paragraph was, “you arrogant ass.”

Actually, I should care more about what you all write and post than what I do. This blog for the last few weeks has turned more into an ‘I love me’ wall than any sort of attempt to maintain mutual conversations with my friends and acquaintances – all of whom are far more interesting than me.

So, if I tend toward the arrogant and self serving here, please feel free to hit the emergency deflation button.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Laura E asked, so . . . .

Friday, August 18, 2006

FE's Dance Party, 08-18

I just found out I get to spend my Friday evening in beautiful downtown Wytheville, Va., so here's a late Dance Party.

I have to admit a small place in my black, evil editor's heart for vintage techno, so let's kick off this week's collection with a couple of oldies . . .

Kraftwerk, in deference to Wanda Harland

and Gary Numan

Now for tonight's main course: big horn bands of the 60's and 70's

Ignore the retro space video and enjoy The Ides of March

Chicago, without so much horn in it . . .

And proof that even the later Chicago lineups couldn't screw up a decent tune

Blood Sweat and Tears - I still groove on it

P Funk

And for dessert . . . . British girl singers!

It makes me feel very, very, very old to know this was big when I was 3. Even older when I remember liking hearing it.

Why more cowbell? How about more Petula?

And some Dusty - jeez this makes me feel older and older since I was 5 then

And to compound the feeling of shambling toward old age . . . Lulu.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

One of my less admirable peccadilloes (extra pic)

I'm an inveterate model builder and modelmaker. I can't help it. I was infected at the tender age of 8 and it's been a parasite worse than tapeworm (not that I've ever had tapeworm, mind you).

I prefer my social commentary bitter and frustrated . . .

so here's a little Lewis Black while I tweak a football special section and decide what Dance Party is going to look like tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One last rivulet of coherent thought for the night

What's used to launch Bugs Bunny's nemesis into space?

Why, an Elmer gantry of course

Mildly disturbing things to hear on television . . .

Heard while my son was watching "Mythbusters":

"There was nothing to direct the salami's thrust."

Pick me, ooh pick me!!!

Vicus might appreciate this one, or he might refer me back to his rather coherent post on physics.

At any rate, we seem to be on the verge on a revision on the size and membership of our current solar system.

I also heard mention of this last night on one of the various and intellectually stimulating local news programs (watch the dripping sarcasm, please - it's both corrosive and stains synthetics). The talking head mentioned that a scientific committee was considering whether to add the three celestial objects onto the solar system's rolls.

If it's an American committee, the process could very well end up like that of a country club. In that case, if these new objects are black, Jewish or Hispanic, they'll probably be rejected unless they have Hollywood connections.

And for the less sophisticated visitors to this blog (not a commentary on my guests and friends thus far), that was a shot at American white males, not ethnic or religious groups.

You pays yer money, you takes yer chances.

and now, since YouTube doesn't seem to have any clips from "That Was the Week That Was," you'll just have to settle for this homemade clip with Tom Lehrer's take on Gilbert and Sullivan. No, not Gilbert O'Sullivan . . . .

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A great synthesis of my hobby, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris

Can't beat a good airplane song, so . . . . .

And so you can sing along . .

Red Staggerwing (feat. Emmylou Harris)
If i was staggerwing plane
A staggerwingpainted red
I'd fly over to your house, baby
Buzz you in your bed
If i was a taperwing
A taperwing painted blue
I'd be barrell-rolling over you
You're gonna need a rider anyhow
Let me be your rider now
If i was a maserati
A red 300s
I'd ride around to your house, baby
Give you a driving test
If i was a mustang racer
White with a stripe of blue
You could ride me,baby
Whenever you wanted to
You're gonna need a rider anyhow
Let me be your rider now
If i was a fender guitar
A fender painted red
You could play me, darlin'
Until your fingers bled
If i was one of them gibsons
Like a '58 or '9
You could plug me in
And play me anytime
You're gonna need a rider anyhow
Let me be your rider now
If i was a motorcycle
A vincent red rapide
I'd ride around to your house, baby
Get you up to speed
If i was short track racer
I'd be an indian
You could ride me around
And ride me round again
You're gonna need a rider anyhow
Let me be your rider now
You're gonna need a rider anyhow
Let me be your rider now

Saturday, August 12, 2006

When memories come back, they come back thick and fast.

I'm not being facetious here. First, apologies to Anna and anyone else who might think this post is a sign or warmongering. It's not. It's just what I grew up with.
In everyone's childhood there's some neighborhood landmark they remember. It could be a park, a bakery, a school, something that was part of your daily life.
As a preteenager and teen, my neighborhood included Naval Air Station Norfolk, and one of the landmarks on the weekly or daily drive to the Navy Exchange or base commissary was the hangar for Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 774.
I covered an air show today and, as it turns out, HMM-774 was among the displays. More specifically, two of 774's CH-46E Sea Knights or, as they were somewhat affectionately known, 'Battle Frogs.'

Many of you in my general age range - 40 to 50 - may remember seeing these on TV quite a bit in the 1960's and 1970's. They've been the standard battle taxi for Marines since Vietnam and for both Iraq wars.

The two 'Frogs in this photo are only seven years younger than me. One still bears some sheet metal work from Vietnam. At least one of them was in the dark gloss green finish I recall seeing 'Frogs in in the 1970's. One just got out of rework after a year in Iraq. There was a strong possibility that I'd seen one of them while growing up.
The command pilot told me that they had just retired one of the 'Frogs to be sent to a museum. That particular ship was the U.S. ambassador's last ride out of Saigon in 1975.
At the other end of the airport, Francis Gary Powers, Jr. was talking with folks along with three of his father's sisters and his brother. Before either of us was born, my mother was typing up the final letters that Oliver Powers sent to Nikita Khrushchev asking that his son be released from a Soviet prison.

A lot of stuff has happened in 46 years. Powers Jr. said to me that most people under 40 just give him blank looks when he asks if they ever heard of his father or of the U-2.

Make of all of this whatever you will.

Friday, August 11, 2006

FE's Dance Party 08-11-06: Funk and Big Strawberry Blond Dutch Girls with Horns

Yes, it's been that kind of week folks, so the afore-mentioned theme actually evolved quite naturally. Not to mention that 'Big Strawberry Blond Dutch Girls wirh Horns' could very well draw more hits than Vicus' reference to 'stilleto heels,' which is actually a rather frightening thought.

It was 1984, and my grad school colleagues couldn't keep from laughing ourselves silly at "Purple Rain" (the semi-thinking man's 'Rocky Horror Picture Show') On one night of drunken rage, a buddy decided he was quite capable of singing 'Jungle Love.' I decided at the same instant that I was capable of being his tubby white manservant Jerome, which thankfully only involved my removing someone's door mirror and a ridiculous moment of fully-clothed, non-erotic dancing and no toast or umbrellas or newspapers or water pistols.

A reminder why I quickly picked up on Parliament Funkadelic in high school:

Hey Ziggi, they're playing our song!

OOH! YEAH! UNNH!A little Ohio Players for da house!:

And lest you thought I was copping out on tonight's theme . . .

And . . . it shows how old I'm feeling that Candy looks more lifelike on stage than does Sheila E . . . .

Somehow I just never pictured the phrases 'North Sea' and 'jazz festival' together in the same string, but what the hey?

And to round out tonight's set:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Strange yet haunting love songs . . .

This one goes out to everyone who thinks Thomas Dolby could only sing "She blinded me with sciiience . . . ."

Fatigue is getting me this week. Thank god for Minute Maid Lemonade and Gilbey's. All I need now is a seat at the Chestnut Tree Cafe . . . .

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ain't fatigue-induced paranoia wonderful?

Taking a break from my wonderful, life-affirming profession (watch it, sarcasm is messy so don't get any on you), I'm reminded of a drink recipe from the esteemed Rip Taylor (see grotesque image above):

Tomato juice

It's called a blood clot.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

It's the heat AND the humiduty . . . .

First I post a picture of Albania's last worthless Stalinist leader Enver Hoxha because saying his name is almost as funny as saying 'Frau . . . . BLUCHER!'
And this afternoon I look down to see what looks like a focused beam of sunlight on my pants. Focused as in "let's try and catch thi son fire with this magnifying glass."
I wave my hands between my pants and the window, to no avail. Then it hits me. The cell phone in my pocket happens to have a built-in flashlight.
I wish it was a phaser. It might have come in handy earlier in the week.

Since this week's "Dance Party" went over like a lead balloon, here's something a little lighter and off-the-wall:

Beats Prince's version 30 ways to hell and five back.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

And now for a posthumous appearance by that wacky Stalinist . . .

let's give it up for . . . . . . Albania's ENVER HOXHA!!!!!

And why a dead Stalinist? Ask Raincoaster . . .

Friday, August 04, 2006

Frontier Editor's Dance Party - August 4, 2006

Richard's words are best deferred to tonight:

"The reason Rory Gallagher is by turns spoken of in terms of hushed reverence or sadly not even known of is because he never glorified drugs; never caused a drive-by shooting; never spawned a clothing fashion any more offensive than a plaid shirt and plimsols; never attacked anyone at an airport and I only once ever heard him swear (and even that was debatable). He gave out nothing more or less than pure enjoyment. You didn't go to a Rory show to make a political statement or to navel gaze; you went to tap your feet and clap your hands. And anyone who thinks he was Liam and Noel's dad deserves a contemptuous slap."

Without further ado, Rory Gallagher.

And to round off tonight's show, a smattering of British pop from across the decades:

Next week: Something odd, I'm sure.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Hey, it's Ed. Any messages?

That was the punchline to one of my favorite prank calls.

Apologies to my legion of fans, detractors and morbidly curious for my extended absence, but let's just say work called . . . at 7:30 p.m. at the motel, and again at 10:30 p.m., and an e-mail at 2:30 a.m. . . . .

Anyway, there's so much to tell, so much to say . . . hmmm, I'm having a vintage Dave Matthews lyric moment.

So, let's indulge in a little rambling.

One of the good things about driving in the mountains of Southwest Virginia is being able to watch the sun rise and set and rise and set again in the morning. On the way to my pseudo-mercenary editor gig this week I got to watch seven sunrises and six sunsets.

And then there was the layover in the motel. Said motel is undergoing a substantial facelift including an enlarged parking lot and construction of a new wing. Apparently, the site preparation around the building has induced a slight warpage of the building. All the room doors seemed to have a slight gap between frame and door.

And, while enjoying having my sleep interrupted by a crazed pressman Tuesday evening, I finally wandered the hall to the soda machine, ice dispenser and travel brochure center, which induced me to write this particular piece of prose:

Things to do in Wytheville when you're dead

I'm spending my third consecutive Tuesday night in a motel in Wytheville, Va. as I continue my saga of work-related . . . . well, work.
While playing the role of business traveler, I feel a certain responsibility to offer a few tips beyond Vicus' own rules for survival in Missouri.

In-room coffee makers: Don't use them, or at least not for coffee. Interesting fact that I learned from a colleague who did a story on methamphetamine abuse: you can use over-the-counter cold medications and a few household chemicals to cook your own meth in a handy motel room coffee maker.

The National Firearms Museum: Thanks to the convenient travel brochure rack on the third floor of this motel, I found that I can take a leisurely six-hour drive after work to the afore-mentioned museum in Fairfax, Va. From the museum's handsome four-color brochure:
"See historical treasures such as a firearm brought to America on the Mayflower, the firearms of the Buffalo Soldiers and the Wild West, and the firearms that went up San Juan Hill! Inspect the firearms owned by notables such as Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, sharpshooter Annie Oakley, General Douglas MacArthur, mystery writer Erle Stanley Gardner, and presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan."

According to the television commercial just on, joining the Army Reserve is not the same as joining the Army, despite the father's skepticism and the son's eventual admission that enlisting means getting Army training even though it's the Army Reserves.

William Shatner's getting roasted on the Comedy Channel soon.

Did I mention don't use the coffee maker?

Bck to Thursday. While driving to pick up my son from golf team practice, I saw something rather unusual and delightful on the trip down the valley: two mountain goats enjoying a roadside salad. I cursed myself roundly for not having a camera on hand.

Anyway, tomorrow night will be episode two of Frontier Editor's Dance Party inspired by Richard with liner notes from one of his recent posts. Enjoy.