Saturday, August 01, 2015

Thrill World

You've seen this, right?

So damn funny.

This is a weird thing: I loved amusement parks when I was a kid.  I thought maybe I'd written about this before, since I've done a show about roller coasters, but that show pre-dates this blog, so I'll tell you this story.

Sometime in middle school, when I was between twelve & fourteen years old, one of those itinerant carnivals found its way to the parking lot of a nearby supermarket.  My mother gave us money for lunch in those days - not much money, probably a couple of bucks - but enough, you know, to buy something to eat.

When I noticed the carnival was there, I skipped lunch every day for as long as it stayed - a week? two? - & after school, I walked over to the carnival, & rode rides as long as I had money.  The ride that I would've loved, a roller coaster, was of course not portable, so I enjoyed the sort-of spider-ish ride that had the twirling car at the end of each leg.  I loved a good spin, is what it was.

The family lived in Dallas, so we were close to Six Flags Over Texas, in Arlington.  We visited there - I'm sure it was as expensive then as it is now - at least once in my childhood, probably more.  I know I went with my friend Scott at some point in high school.  I went there in 1986 - the actual last time I had been to an amusement park, almost thirty years ago - not for the rides, but for a concert.  (It's embarrassing - it was Julian Lennon.)

But then I never went again.  & I'm not sure why.  Did I feel I had outgrown it?

On Thursday, we went to the (perhaps) closest amusement park to Lexington, Kings Island.  Interestingly, it's not surrounded by water & I didn't see any royalty there.  But Jesus God did I have fun.

The first ride we went on - called Delirium - I suddenly felt thirty-five years younger.  Oh I knew I was still me in my disastrous forty-seven year old boy.  But I laughed out loud.

In my head, I just counted - I rode just nine rides in the few hours we were there - as you know, it involves a lot of waiting, that whole amusement park experience - & we got there late.  But when I tried to go to sleep that night, I would close my eyes & was back on the Diamondback.  Or the Beast.  & my heart would race.

Believe me, I had apprehension.  & I need time to process it.  I had so much fun.  While my wife screamed next to me, the laughter coming out of my mouth was the same as when I was twelve or thirteen.  It was wonderful.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Self Help Radio 072815: Wheels

(Original image here.)

A radio show on wheels!  Isn't technology wonderful!

I am in no position to judge, but I think this show was all right.  Wheel songs, Dr. Howard Gently, Dr. David Fruchter, an unwanted visit from Baby Stinks - it was probably a mess, but maybe a tolerable mess.  I wouldn't know!  I can't really listen to myself talk without feeling sick.  Can you imagine - I have that voice in my head all the time!

But if listening to ridiculous radio shows is in your wheelhouse, as making them appears to be in mine, then you can listen to this one at Self Help Radio web central.  It's in two parts for some reason.  In case you're never been there before - & who could blame you? - pay attention to username/password information.  The playlist is there, but it's also below.

Thanks for listening!

(part one)

"The Wheel" Jimmy Nelson _The Music City Story_
"I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday" Bobby Mitchell _The Spirit Of New Orleans: The Genius Of Dave Bartholomew_
"The Big Wheel" Howard Crockett _Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963_

"Spinning Wheel" Ray Bloch Singers _Hits Of '69_
"Heart Like A Wheel" Kate & Anna McGarrigle _Kate & Anna McGarrigle_
"Wheel Of Life" Lyn Collins _James Brown's Original Funky Divas_
"The Wheels On The Bus" Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers _Rock & Roll With The Modern Lovers_

"The Wheel" Section 25 _The Key Of Dreams_
"Slippery People" Talking Heads _Stop Making Sense_
"Wheels Go Round" Blue Train _Land Of Gold_
"Love Wheel" Daniel Johnston _Fun_

"Animals On Wheels" Sam Phillips _Omnipop_
"Dog On Wheels" Belle & Sebastian _Dog On Wheels_

(part two)

"Wheels" Black Francis _NonStopErotik_
"Bigger Wheels" I Am Kloot _Natural History_
"Watching The Wheels" John Lennon _Anthology_

"Wheels" DJ Yoda _The Amazing Adventures Of DJ Yoda_
"Wheel Made Man" The Danielson Famile _Fetch The Compass Kids_
"Training Wheels" Pataphysics _Take A Look Out Your Window_
"Someone Stole My Wheels" Biff Bang Pow! _The Acid House Album_

"Ezekiel Saw De Wheel" The Delta Rhythm Boys _Dry Bones_
"Cosmic Wheels" Donovan _Cosmic Wheels_
"This Wheel's On Fire" Siouxsie & The Banshees _Through The Looking Glass_
"Up On The Big Wheel" Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes _Billy The Whizz EP 12"_

"The Wheels Of Love" Edwyn Collins _Hope & Despair_
"Wheel Of Fortune" The Virgins _Strike Gently_

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Whither Wheels?

(I found this image here.)

One might suppose I always have a fun reason for the themes I pick.  One would be mistaken.

Sometimes I can't remember why I thought of a particular topic to explore.  How do themes get chosen to be on WRFL?  I can think of perhaps four scenarios:

1) It is suggested to me by a listener.
2) It somehow relates to an anniversary, holiday, or current event.
3) It is stumbled onto by repetition, or serendipity, or chance.  Usually this means I just keep hearing the theme in song after song.
4) There is no real explanation.

Today I have to say it's number four.  At some point in the past, I created a folder in the SHR area of my computer, & that folder said, "Wheels."  (It might have said "Wheelz" because I am a dork.)  I discovered it sometime later, & began to think of songs that might fit into that folder.  Once the folder was full enough to make a radio show, I put it on the queue.  In the queue.  Whatever.

& that's why today's show is about wheels.  I really don't know what the inspiration was & that's about as much as I can say.  Wheels.  Wheel.  Whee!

The show is on from 4 to 6 pm today on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington & online at wrfl dot fm online.  I'll archive it tomorrow.

Maybe you'll listen?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Preface To Wheels: The Wheel Of Life

Have a look at this: The United States Has Experienced On Average One Mass Shooting Per Day This Year.

Here's the graphic:

You should be able to click to enlarge.

Things like this make me realize how utterly insignificant my little radio program is.  So I'm not in the mood to chat about "wheels" today.  Maybe tomorrow.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Do I Have To Post A Review?

This post may contain spoilers for Ant Man the movie.  Maybe.  Who knows.  You've been warned.

Yesterday I mentioned that I would go & see the Ant Man movie & I did.  I thought I'd post something of a review here because I'm almost certain no one on the internet has done that yet, & because I talked about it yesterday, & I'm pretending you're a friend who's polite enough to ask me, after I mentioned that I saw the movie, what I thought about it, even though I'm almost certain you don't care.

Because I'm a huge comic book nerd, I am surprising no-one that I go & see these incessant comic book movies, as well as watching all the comic book television shows.  What might not be self-evident is that I don't like a thing just because it's a comic book thing.  I'll probably watch it - I watched Ghost Rider, for fuck's sake - not to mention Smallville (all ten horrifying seasons) - & oh yeah Daredevil The Movie as well as Green Lantern - but I will say afterwards oh my god why did I do that?  The answer is, because I couldn't help it.

I recognize when they're badly done is the point.

Still, as I said yesterday, despite the money they're making (or perhaps because of it), the Marvel movies have given me diminishing returns.  I loved loved loved The Avengers.  I was so-so about the second Thor film.  I was never crazy about the Captain America film, so the sequel was sorta eh.  I outright didn't much like the super hit The Guardians Of The Galaxy, though I did watch it again & appreciated it a bit more.  But I noticed things in watching these movies: they kind of all have the same plot arcs.

Up there I said that maybe because they're making money, they are less interesting to me.  It could be that once a formula is established, if that formula keeps making money, that formula is what they're going to stick with.  (Which might be why Edgar Wright left the Ant Man project, I dunno.)  So each film follows roughly the same arc, with the obligatory sixties or seventies song, the seeming defeat at the denouement, & the hero triumphant at the end.  If anyone goes into a Marvel film thinking anything's really at stake, they're not paying attention - many people have pointed this out.

Even walking in with that knowledge, & low expectations, I was surprised how fluffy & inconsequential Ant Man felt.  I love me some Paul Rudd, & I am happy that that handsome & amiable fellow is making as much money as he doubtless did here, but he's not taking it terribly seriously, & the film doesn't take itself so seriously either.  I wondered if anyone seeing this was really worried Michael Douglas' shrinking machine was going to cause World War III.  Of course they weren't, this wa\sn't an Avengers film.  To underscore this, the films has a battle (as seen in the trailers, no spoiler alert here) on a child's train track, where the bad guy thinks he's going to be run over by a train, but it's a toy train, so it's played for laughs.

Detractors may say that, yes, there are those moments, but Ant Man's got the Falcon & he'll probably join the Avengers in time for the next big movie.  That's a minor part of the film.  Most of it is Paul Rudd doing his clueless, charming thing, & a lot of it is more tongue-in-cheek than grim determination.  The film's best moments - a film which, now that I think about it, is also kinda short on the battle stuff - there's a lot of exposition - seem to come with Ant Man's hapless criminal friends.  In fact, my favorite part of the movie wasn't the shrinking or the ants or the almost-incidental fight scenes, but everything Michael Peña did as Luis.  He was wonderful.  I told my movie viewing companions that I'd watch an entire film about that character.  Marvel!  Start it up!

Listen: don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the film, although mostly because I didn't think I'd enjoy it.  It's fun, it's a summer film.  But it's no Avengers.  I am kinda of the opinion that if there were another great comic book movie like that one, it won't come from a movie studio the success of which is fast-tracking it to profitable complacency.  Which is too bad.

& that's the sort of dumb movie review I would write if I wrote movie reviews on this dumb site.