Saturday, November 27, 2021

On The Way To 183

Sometime in 2014 I started taking digital pictures with a digital camera that my wife had.  We'd used it before, on vacations or special occasions, like animals' birthdays or whatever, but since we went on dog walks daily, & there were things that amused me, I started taking pictures & then sharing them, first on Facebook, then on Tumblr.  I don't do Instagram, I can't imagine having one more social media platform to worry about.  & yes, I know Instagram is all about the pictures & Tumblr is played out.  It turns out I'm a creature of habit.

The pictures I take show what a creature of habit I am.  This image is from Fort Worth, taken on this day three years ago.  At the time, I didn't know it would be my last fall in Texas.  It was a Tuesday, which was probably the day I did the shopping.  It was also the day I did my show on KNON, so I was on the road a lot that day.  But that was living in Texas.  In a car two hours a day.  No matter what.

Anyway, I took this picture thinking it might be interesting (it's not, not in the way I thought it might be) but it's only really interesting to me.  It's the way I drove home from Costco.  I went that way because the way I had done previously became a clusterfuck thanks to road maintenance.  Also a constant with living in Texas.  Everyone's on the road so the roads have to be widened, repaired, etc.

The picture is looking west so I'm driving north, to a frontage road, which will take me to the road I was avoiding near the Costco.  The highways are part of the reason it was a clusterfuck.  Many Texas drivers wait until the last possible moment to get into the lane that's the onramp to the highway.  & many Texas drivers drive huge-ass SUVs that will crush my little Prius without a second thought.

The point I wanted to make is that this uninteresting picture serves as a sort of page from my photo diary.  I haven't thought about that trip, that weekly trip I made, in many months.  It seems longer ago than just three years.  But they say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Microsoft word tells me this is under four hundred.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Films At The Airport

(image from the IMDb)

On this week's show (listen here or here), our resident cinephile Chuck stopped by to talk about films featuring airports.  He had a very long list to choose from, but managed to chat about his favorites.

You can follow what he watched on his Twitter feed, @robotmonkeycat.  You can read what he thought about some of the movies over at Letterboxd.

He made a Youtube playlist for you to peruse, & he also provided a list of films you can stream elsewhere for free.

All that work & he hasn't been on a plane in over twenty years!  In any event, we hope there's a film about airports you find that you enjoy at least as much as you enjoy being in an airport.  Wait.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Self Help Radio 112321: Airports

As a poor person, I spent way more time in my twenties in bus stations than airports.  I kind of preferred the selection of humanity on display there as opposed to the obviously more affluent people you see in airports.  I made an observation about a recent trip (in May), where some guy, forced to wear a mask at the D/FW Airport, chose one that said, in big white letters on black, "Thanks, China."  I told my wife, "In a bus station, I wouldn't have to deal with that kind of person - I'd just be forced to sit next to someone actually suffering from Covid."

But of course buses take even longer than driving oneself; & there are no train routes of note in Texas, where I lived most of my life.  So planes have been exceedingly helpful.  I've traveled to Australia & to Europe - I'm not sure I'd have enjoyed the bus rides there.  (Or, you know, the long journeys by ship.)

& yet, airports are not the sort of place people enjoy being at, are they.  Luckily they're the sort of place artists & musicians like to make songs about, & comedians like to complain about.  Their works make up the bulk of the show, with silly interviews & a discussion about movies sprinkled throughout.  If it's not the blistering exposé of airport culture you hoped for, perhaps it's diverting enough the spend some time listening.

The show is both at the KBOO website & at the Self Help Radio website.  Going to the show's website means you'll need a username & a password, which are SHR & selfhelp.  All the things that happen on the show are mentioned below.

Flight delayed?!?  Guess I'll go hang out at the airport bar.


Self Help Radio Airports Show
"Airport Blues" Walter Roberts _Yet More Mellow Cats 'N' Kittens (Hot R&B & Cool Blues 1945-1951)_
"L.A. International Airport" Susan Raye _The Best Of Susan Raye_
"All The Time In Airports" The Handsome Family _Last Days Of Wonder_

introduction & definitions - featuring the Definition-O-Tron 3000!

"Airport" Pataphysics _My Phone's About To Die_
"The Echoing Airports" The One AM Radio _This Too Will Pass_
"Airport Security" George Carlin _You Are All Diseased_
"Airport People" Mindbenders _With Woman In Mind_
"She Lives In An Airport" Guided By Voices _The Bears For Lunch_

interview with TSA Agent Earl Warren

"Meet Me At The Airport" Baader Meinhof _Baader Meinhof_
"All The Nations Airports" Archers Of Loaf _All The Nations Airports_
"Airport Hell (Part One)" Henry Rollins _Think Tank_
"Airport" Wet Willie _Wet Willie II_
"Airport Song" Magna Carta _Seasons_

interview with airport vendor Harry Levitt

"Hammered In An Airport" Spray _Ambiguous Poems About Death_
"To Live & Die In The Airport Lounge" My Teenage Stride _Ears Like Golden Bats_
"Airport Hell (Part Two)" Henry Rollins _Think Tank_
"Airport Bar" Martin Courtney _Many Moons_
"Airport Bars" Landlines _Problems 24/7_

Chuck stops by to talk about movies featuring airports

"Airport" Rosie Tucker _Sucker Supreme_
"Airport" The Motors _Approved By The Motors_
"Airport" Scott & Charlene's Wedding _Delivered EP_
"Airport Security (Part 1)" Lewis Black _The End Of The Universe_
"The Biggest Airport In The World" Moe Bandy _Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life_

interview with sociologist Harvey Clutchinterview with marine biologist Herbert Schmecken

"Gabriel In The Airport" The French _Local Information_
"Michael & Heather At The Baggage Claim" Fountains Of Wayne _Traffic & Weather_
"Airport Security (Part 2)" Lewis Black _The End Of The Universe_
"Her Ocean Airport" California Snow Story _Some Other Places_
"The Great Airport Mystery" Joey Paige _Voyages Into... Pop-Psych (Vol. 2)_

a brief history of airports

"Heathrow Or Deathrow" The Dears _Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique_
"Aeroplanes (Herdla Int. Airport)" Professor Pez _Hordaland_
"Tokio Airport (feat. China)" Metal Boys _Tokio Airport_
"Airport Fishing Rod: The Dawn Of Airline Safety" Coyle & Sharpe _Audio Visionaries_
"Orly" Jacques Brel _Infiniment_

conclusion & goodbye

"Afterglow" Momus _Voyager_
"Airport's Air" Analog 2nd Camera _Shining Sun_
"The City, The Airport" Loney Dear _Sologne_
"Airport Love" Betty Please _Airport Love 7"_

Monday, November 22, 2021

Whither Airports?

Tonight's Self Help Radio is about airports.  Because everyone loves the airport, right?  No, that's can't be it...

It may be about airports because this is the beginning of the season when everyone's at an airport some time or another.  But wait, Self Help Radio is hardly ever that topical.  So maybe not.

Could it be that Self Help Radio has magical memories of airports?  Almost certainly not!

Here's what's true: Self Help Radio really, really likes the song "Hammered In An Airport" by Spray & thought airports would be a good theme after listening to it a few times.  Yep.  That tracks.

Tune in to KBOO tonight at 90.7fm in Portland or online at everywhere to hear three hours of songs about airports, interviews with airport denizens, & some comedians complaining about airports.

Dude, it can't be worse than spending time in an actual airport!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Preface To Airports: My First Airports

(image of the Frankfurt airport in 1974 from here)

Though I grew up quite poor, I had the extraordinary good luck to leave the country & visit West Germany in 1974.  This was because my mother was German & I believe that her parents paid for it.  My mother took me, my little brother Chris, & my brother Ralph with us.  Of my six siblings only my sister Pat - who hated to fly - never visited Germany.  My brother Eddie was born there, & I am not sure he's ever been back.

Whether we left out of DFW or Love Field, I don't know.  I have no memory of the airport out of which we flew.  My mother always insisted on flying to Germany on Lufthansa, & my guess would be they'd only operate out of an international airport like DFW.  But a cursory internet search tells me nothing.

What I do remember was the Frankfurt Airport.  I came to it both exhausted & disillusioned.  I was six years old, & I was very excited to fly.  Mostly I wanted to see above the clouds, to see the angels I was certain lived there.  Angels were always portrayed on top of clouds.  I wasn't entirely sure how they felt about planes flying through their homes, but I hoped one would wave to me.  How sad to discover there were no angels on the clouds.  I wish I could say it was the beginning of my abandonment of believing in supernatural things but nah - I still loved fantasy & comics & really wanted to believe in magic.

The plane flight was very long, especially for a six-year-old, & very stuffy, as my mother smoked & we were in the smoking section.  & I was fidgety & bored.  I probably slept a bit.  I had no real idea what awaited me.

What awaited me was fucking terrifying.  As a child I had no idea what terrorism was & of course I knew nothing about the Munich Olympics.  But I was frightened out of my skull at the number of soldiers with rifles at the airport.  They were everywhere.  & the place smelled weird - more earthy.  & of course I couldn't understand what anyone was saying.  When my mother's family approached me - my grandparents happy to see their grandchildren, my aunt & uncle happy to meet their nephews - they embraced me & I discovered that my German relatives had no idea what deodorant was.  They were very sweaty & they smelled it.  I did what I generally did when I was six & was overwhelmed - I started to cry.

Not just sad tears, I was bawling.  I was a crybaby of the worst kind.  & my German relatives were alarmed.  & there was lots of chatter in that weird language & I heard my mother say, "Maybe his legs hurt."  & suddenly these strange, smelly people are massaging my legs which means their hands are all over me which naturally terrified me more.

This did not endear me to my German relatives, & although I think my grandparents might have liked me if they got to know me, my uncle never did.  When I visited again, in 1992, he was mostly cold to me.

Those were my first two airports.  It would be twelve years - when I was 18 - when I would board a plane, from Dallas Love Field to Austin's Robert Mueller Airport.  The latter no longer exists.  I was going down to Austin for orientation the summer before my Freshman year in college.  Both airports were tiny.  Neither were frightening.