Saturday, January 14, 2012

Preface To 1976: Thugs Hangout Late

I was eight years old for three hundred & forty-six of 1976's three hundred & sixty-six days. (It was a leap year.) I was in second grade when it started, & lived at that time in an apartment complex on Kingsley Road in Garland, Texas, called the Lockwood Arms. (It's still there, but the name has changed. (I wrote about that place here.) We moved to another apartment complex a street over called Little Brook Apartments some time during the year. I was too young to know why we moved. I just know we did.

In our apartment at Little Brook was me, my little brother Chris, my sister Karin, & my older brothers Ralph & Steve. I'm not sure if Ralph was calling himself Ralph yet. His full name is James Ralph, but he started getting people to call him Ralph because everyone was calling him "Jamie," which I suppose seemed feminine to him. My oldest sister Pat & my oldest brother Eddie had already moved on. I believe both were married - Pat married that year. She & her husband got married in a civil ceremony at City Hall, so I wasn't invited to a wedding that year. The apartment had, if I recall correctly, three bedrooms & two bathrooms. Chris, Karin & I slept in one, Ralph & Steve in another, & Mom (& her boyfriend Ed) in the big one, which had the second bathroom. I remember the main bathroom did not have a lock that worked. That sucked. Lots of walking in on Gary doing number two!

I have many memories of Little Brook Apartments. It was close to my elementary school, Caldwell Elementary, so we walked there, rain or shine (more rain than shine in Garland, Texas) & hot or cold (more hot than cold). I had a couple of really good friends there, & I even remember being more than smitten with a girl - but I can't remember her name now. The property at the time was fenced on three sides (the front was open) but the area behind it was empty & there were a couple of abandoned, dilapidated houses which, when we discovered them, seemed like heaven to us, but we were told not to go to them by our mother & because I suppose we (I mean me & my little brother, we were inseparable then) were obedient, we didn't go back. The area behind the apartments was a dirt bike & go-kart trail, & once my little brother stepped into a fire ant hill & had an allergic reaction. I remember crying & thinking he was going to die.

Across Cranford Road was an empty load with pecan trees. One of the few memories I have of my father was him walking with us to a convenience store on Kingsley Road, called the Time Saver (which would figure heavily in my teen years), & showing me which pecans were good to eat. He was most definitely drunk at the time, but I didn't know that.

The place is still called the Little Brook Apartments, which means it's had the same name for probably as long as I've been alive. It even still sort of looks the same, although it used to be brown:

The apartment is now in a "bad part of town," which means, in Texas, it's predominantly poor & Hispanic. You can read a few bad "reviews" of the place here. I am especially fond of the comment, "Thugs hangout late roaming the Cranford St."

I have a particularly happy memory from that place. The apartment was a little under a half mile from train tracks, & every morning about six-thirty - usually when I would wake up to get ready to go to school - a train would come by. I learned to wake up to that train. Especially on sunny mornings, it seemed so nice to know this train was passing by regularly, & I would always wake up to it.

I remember throwing away old comics at that apartment. Bad Gary! I also had a terrible experience with a disc jockey at that apartment - but I'll tell that story tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Raise This Profile

Today is January 13, 2012, the fest day of St. Glaphyra, a popular saint among the chaste, wherever they may be.

The little boy downstairs is listening to the blues. The neighbor bums him out by telling him it's a dying art form.

In this holiday season everyone from everything & everyone expects only the best, most honest & sincere. The devil in front of the newspaper editor began to open long-faded pictures of his origins & sentenced him to write some 35 years.

But the story actually goes far past the 20th century, which was carried out in tents & vaudeville on South America with a strong tendency of migration to the north.

Of course, even today, the situation has not changed significantly, but the possibilities of affirmation are now much higher & that is, they inevitably open doors.

The little boy screams at the negative neighbor, "If you thought you heard all the blues, you are terribly wrong!"

Quiet, calm, fully relaxed without any euphoria & some additional stimulus, no fan preferences pure heart & good conscience.

Stop now! It's cold. Go, go & make a cake for your wife!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hello, Snow!

January twelfth is the time & day when it first snowed in earnest in Lexington, Kentucky, in twenty twelve (2012). It rained a bit, then it snowed. It snowed a bit, then it snowed. It was all quite lovely.

The Almanac said, "Snow, then snow showers, cold." Tomorrow, it will be, "Sprinkles, very mild." The poor snow, come all this way to just be sprinkled off.

Science has confirmed (inasmuch as science "confirms" anything) that no two snowflakes are alike. You can catch one in your hand (but better if it's on your glove) & marvel at its crystal beauty.

You may need a guide to snowflake types. This is not available in the Almanac which, as has been demonstrated, treats the snow with scorn. "Sprinkles, very mild," sounds more like an order at a restaurant than a weather prediction!

Can you imagine, some folks even ask the question is the Farmer's Almanac accurate?

Does tell those farmers that the word "almanac" comes from the Arabic al manakh, which means calendar!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Gray Or Grey?

Is it gray or is it grey? On a gray day in Lexington, Self Help Radio taught a city how to properly spell the word for an unassuming color & then reported on what people thought the color meant. (For example, it "unsettles," but also "creates expectations," perhaps for unsettling things.) & lots of songs about the color & things of its color were played, all in grayscale. (What a terrible pun. I couldn't resist.)

The show has rested on the graying Self Help Radio website, but it is in two parts, gray part one & gray part two. What's in each part is listed below. Will the show make you gray? It certainly has made me gray.

(part one)

"Grey" Ken Nordine _Colors_
"Grey" Witches _Forever_
"Grey" New Young Pony Club _Fantastic Playroom_

"Gray Goose" Leadbelly _Midnight Special_
"Ofay & Oxford Gray" Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five _The Hoy Hoy Collection: Rock Before Elvis!_
"When You Are Old & Gray" Tom Lehrer _The Remains Of Tom Lehrer_
"Blue Turns To Grey" The Rolling Stones _December's Children (& Everybody's)_
"Here Come The People In Grey" The Kinks _Muswell Hillbillies_
"Turning Grey" The Boys _The Boys_

"White & Grey" Math & Physics Club _Movie Ending Romance_
"This Is Green, This Is Grey" Spearmint _Airpop Terminal 2_
"Grey Cell Green" Ned's Atomic Dustbin _The Brit Box: UK Indie, Shoegaze, & Brit-Pop Gems Of The Last Millennium_

(part two)

"Grey Lagoons" Roxy Music _For Your Pleasure_
"Fade To Grey" Visage _The Edge Of The Eighties_

"All Cats Are Grey" The Cure _Faith_
"All Cats Are Grey" Cleaners From Venus _Back From The Cleaners_
"Girl With Grey Eyes" Big Country _Steeltown_
"Grey Skies" Secret Shine _Fountain Island_

"Grey Flannelette" Jazz Butcher _In Bath Of Bacon_
"Wrapped In Grey" XTC _Nonsuch_
"Grey Day" Madness _7_
"Grey-Eyed Lie" Belmondo _Project: Echo_

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Whither Grey/Gray?

Sez the wikipedia, "In photography & computing, a grayscale or greyscale digital image is an image in which the value of each pixel is a single sample, that is, it carries only intensity information. Images of this sort, also known as black-&-white, are composed exclusively of shades of gray, varying from black at the weakest intensity to white at the strongest."

There was a time when the entire world was shades of grey (or gray), as is discussed in this important historical document:

(You can click to make it bigger.)

Self Help Radio turns gray tomorrow at 7:30 am on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington. You can listen anywhere online at wrfl dot fm. & it'll settle into its grayness later at self help radio dot net. Listen in!