Saturday, June 02, 2012

Preface To Elevators & Escalators: Which Do You Prefer?

Some opinions here & here.

People on the Straight Dope message board discuss it here.

There's no word for a fear of elevators (it's close to claustrophobia) but if you are - & I think I know a claustrophobic person who does not in fact ride elevators - here are some tips to help out.

(Snap a rubber band?)

Apparently being afraid of escalators has a name, & it's escalatophobia.  These aren't quite tips, but here's a lot more information about escalatophobia.

Myself, I was always much more afraid of escalators than elevators.  To this day, the first step is a deliberate one - after all, there's an evil, reverse side of the escalator that we can't see - but which, it always seems, is lit with evil green light.  Isn't the light coming from the inside of an escalator always green?  What is lit with green light?

Evil is.

The scariest escalators in the world are in Washington, D.C.'s subways system.  Falling down this is not how I want to die:

Friday, June 01, 2012

Please Wait Ten Seconds

Does anyone remember Colorforms?

Do they still make Colorforms?

I wish I could go back in time & watch myself play with Colorforms.  I have memories of entire stories unfolding on that two dimensional space, with the strange plastic shapes ("forms") moved around like terrible animation by me, often mixing in some other Colorforms characters from different sets.  I remember sometimes continuing stories over the course of days.  Me, all by myself in a room, making a movie with my hands, my little brain & a couple of Colorforms stages.

I know that kids today get used to having constant stimulation & find such immobile things dull.  A friend of my wife tells me his kids find Mister Rogers boring.  Imagine!  I have no illusions that any child would have the same experience I had with Colorforms.

What I would like to hear were the stories I acted out.  I am a terrible storyteller - a failed writer - which I think is obvious - & I have no sense of plot or character development - & the adventures I was enacting were probably cliched & dull, whole narratives lifted from comic books or cartoons.

But what if they weren't?  I think it wouldn't hurt for me to find out.

Though I never will.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


I have a bird feeder.  I like to see birds very happily flutter around it & eat.  In general, I'd love to have many, many different kinds of birds, but over time it gets overrun with sparrows with the occasional dove, blue jay & cardinal hanging around.  I'd prefer a few more finches.

I bought the kind of bird feeder which is supposed to be primarily for small birds, "songbirds."  It has a circular metal grill that surrounds it which should only allow birds of a certain size, but because seed falls to the feeder floor, a larger bird can grasp the feeder & stick its head in.(*)  I don't always mind when it's a lovely bird, like a cardinal, although the bigger birds do tend to shoo the smaller birds away.

At some point recently, though, the most hated of birds descended upon my feeder: the grackle.  Suddenly they were everywhere, & they're big bullies, & they were battering the bird feeder to make the seed inside fall to the ground.  Big & stupid is one thing - big & smart is a bad combination.

In Austin, the grackles rule the University of Texas campus.  They are a trouble for the entire city - as this recent article in the city's "newspaper" reports.  They are such a fact of life that the smell of their excrement, their screeches from the trees at sunset & otherwise, & the ever-present danger of being shat upon as you wander across campus, all these things are almost taken for granted.

But in Kentucky?  I suppose I would see them in parking lots, but not in neighborhoods.

Eventually, I had to remove the bird feeder.  Just stepping outside, I could hear their calls, which sound like a sick animal clearing its throat, & they'd be visible at the tops of trees as the leaves were slowly coming back, at the end of winter/beginning of spring.  I imagined they were calling me names, but I know they're resourceful birds who can survive on most everything.  It was, as always, the smaller creatures that suffered.  All these grackles, everywhere, making noise that reminded me a little of home.

Until this past week.  I noticed the grackles had gone.  I put the bird feeder back out.  So far, no big bully-bird to bother the others.  & of course I have even seen a few finches, though of course the sparrows will probably crowd them away.  The sparrows have one thing the grackles don't have - they're awful cute.

I'm not anywhere near an amateur ornithologist, but I wonder: do grackles just come to my neighborhood to breed in early spring?  Do they go somewhere else when their children can fly?  I've asked a couple of people who've lived here a long time, but they didn't know what a grackle was.  Lucky souls!

I just hope it wasn't my bird feeder that brought them here in the first place.

(*) It's also supposed to protect from squirrels, although I've caught very young squirrels leaping into it from tall branches.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Double Double

Seeing double, or double vision, is a condition called diplopia & it can be caused by many things, all of them things I am terrified of &, as a hypochondriac, certain that I now have.  But just because each of the songs on the show today is somehow about something doubled doesn't mean you have diplopia.  It's just me.  I'm the one with the brain tumor & Graves Disease that's causing this double vision double vision.

The show is now available for listening at self help radio dot net.  It's in two parts - you're not seeing one show twofold! - & part one is available here part one is available here while part two is available here part one is available here.  The single list of double songs is below.

(part one)

"Science Fiction Double Feature" Me First & The Gimme Gimmes _Are A Drag_
"Double Trouble" Half Japanese _Greatest Hits_
"Double Up" C. L. Blast _The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968_
"Old Double 'E'"The Electric Company _The Electric Company/Original Cast_

"Double Life" The Cars _Candy-O_
"Double Summer" The Chills _Heavenly Pop Hits (The Best Of The Chills)_
"Double Groove (Unfinished Outtake)" Talking Heads _Remain In Light_
"Double Dutch" Malcolm McLaren _Duck Rock_

"Agent Double-0-Soul" Edwin Starr _Beg, Scream, Shout: The Big Ol' Box Of 60's Soul_
"The Double Act" Grow Up _The Best Thing/Without Wings_
"Do The Double Take" Boat _Dress Like Your Idols_
"Do The Double Bump" Rufus Thomas _The Funkiest Man Alive: The Stax Funk Sessions 1967-1975_

(part two)

"Periodically Triple Or Double" Yo La Tengo _Popular Songs_
"Popcorn Double Feature" The Searchers _Ripples, Vol. 2: Dreamtime (British Sunshine Pop)_

"Double Knots" Bitesize _Sophomore Slump_
"Double Dare" Bauhaus _In The Flat Field_
"Double Chocolate Malted" Jonathan Richman _It's Time For Jonathan Richman_
"Double Fisted" Invisible Cities _Watertown_
"School Of Doubletalk" Gary Owens _Put Your Head On My Finger_
"Doubled Up" Heather Nova _Blow_

"Doubleplusgood" Eurthymics _1984 (For The Love Of Big Brother)_
"Double Vegetation" Julian Cope _Peggy Suicide_
"Double Talk" Shoes _Shoes' Best_
"Double Double Dare" Hoyt Axton _Quagmire, Vol. 8_

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Whither Seeing Double?

Can I just say that nothing messes with my brain more than watching Game Of Thrones & Mad Men back-to-back.  I love both shows to distraction but for completely different reasons.  I sometimes don't know how I keep my brain in my head.

Anyway, I have to go to bed because I have to wake up again early (that is a terrible bargain in so many ways) to do a radio show.  The theme is "seeing double."  It is not inspired by actual events.  My eyesight grows poor with age, but I've never "seen double."  I've have so much to drink that the room has spun.  But never did the room split in two before me.

But there's still time!

Self Help Radio is on tomorrow morning - mere hours from now - from 7:30 to 9am on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington & its nearby satellites.  You can always listen online from anywhere, even a satellite, at wrfl dot fm.  I have been dreadful in the last couple of weeks at putting the show online but I promise I will do it soon after at self help radio dot net.

Now it's time to go to bed.  Now it's time to go to bed.

Hey wait a second.  Hey wait a second.

What's going on? What's going on?

You think this is funny?  You think this is funny?

Ah, screw it.  Ah screw it.