View blog reactions Waiting for Speedway Fowler: July 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006



While wandering through a Dick's Sporting Goods the other day, something on the wall caught my eye.

It was a Zebco rod and reel.

I didn't even know Zebco was still in business.

I used to have one of those. I think it may still be around, probably in the back of the hall closet in Falmouth.

Zebco makes the cheapest, simplest fishing gear you can find.

When I was a kid, you could by a Zebco rod and reel for $7.99 at Rexall.

I used to fish off the Menhaunt bridge over near Green Harbor.

I never once caught anything worth keeping, but it was always a great time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Maine: Vacationland

Took the family to Portland yesterday.

Here are a couple of funky photos I took:

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Boston Media Makers

I finally got a chance to catch a meeting of the Boston Media Makers group.

They meet one Sunday each month at a bakery in Jamaica Plain. I've been trying to catch one of their sessions ever since Podcast Academy at BU back in April.

The meeting was a great time. It was very cool meeting people with similar interests to mine. And I got to meet Carl Weaver, the keeper of the Worcester Diaries videoblog... right before he moved to Washington.

I look forward to the next get-together.


Another Sign of the Apocalypse

Stray snakes turn up in snake-free Ireland

DUBLIN, Ireland, July 22 (UPI) -- Snakes are increasingly popular pets in Ireland, and escaped snakes are showing up in the notoriously snake-free country.

The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is seeking new homes for 10 snakes whose previous owners have not stepped forward, the Irish Times reports. All the animals are non-venomous and range in size from 5 inches long to more than 6 feet.

A 6-foot bull snake turned up in a kitchen cupboard in Tallaght, a suburb southwest of Dublin.

Orla Aungier, the society's education officer, advised anyone who finds a snake to try to remain calm and not frighten the animal, because frightened snakes are likely to slither into hiding. She said finders should, if they can, put an overturned pot or basin over the snake and weight it before calling for help.


Mammoth Mart

When I was a little kid, I used to go with my grandparents to Howard Johnson's for lunch, and then we'd often stop at Mammoth Mart.

Mammoth Mart isn't there anymore. It's a Discount Liquor Superstore.

Mammoth was one of the regional retailers that ruled the roost back in the 60's and, to a lesser extent, the 70's and 80's. Some of the others were Bradlee's, Leichmere, Zayre's, Giant, Caldor, JM Fields, Spree... there were a lot of them.

WalMart ran a lot of them out of business. Others fell victim to changing times and fashions. They just weren't sophisticated enough to stick around.

Every time I drive by that liquor store, I think about Mammoth Mart, and Howard Johnsons, and my grandparents.

I have to say, WalMart and Applebees don't really seem like a step up.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Podcast Update

Almost ready to go.

The primary hold-up has been finding a hosting service.

I settled on Libsyn, as they seem the least evil, and all the cool kids are using them.

It's five bucks a month, which is perfect because Phil Hendrie has retired, so the six bucks a month I was spending to subscribe to his site now goes back into my pocket and I end up a buck ahead in the deal. Woo-hoo!

So I set up my Libsyn account after closing hours on Friday, and now I have to wait until Monday morning for it to be activated.

That's really frustrating, but I've been using the downtime to troubleshoot my HTML encoding, so hopefully, once the account is activated and I can upload my first MP3 file, we'll be good to go. I just switched on the Blogger Site Link key, so it seems like we're 90% of the way to getting this thing up and running. I did two test podcasts with my cohorts Jim and Brian last week, live from the back room at Leitrims, and I've been fiddling with the results in Audacity. I may just post them as raw feeds, with no music bed, just to see if the RSS works.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Rock Me Tonight

I don't know who posted this on YouTube, but whoever you are, Bravo!

Do you remember when you first saw this video, and how the very first thought that went through your head was: Billy Squier's career is OVER.

Enjoy it again in all its freaky glory:

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Povich and The Pickle

If you haven't seen it already, you probably know someone who has: Maury Povich is doing a show on odd phobias. One of his guests is a woman who has a problem with pickles. They scare her to death. Just talking about pickles is enough to make her start to sob and shake uncontrollably, but the real magic happens when the woman comes within visual range of a pickle. She freaks out. I mean, she completely and totally loses her mind, running around the studio screaming gibberish and cowering under a table.

Maury, of course, has two stage hands come up on the woman from behind with plates piled with pickles. The results are memorable. Remember that science experiment everyone did as a kid where you simulated a volcano by pouring vinegar into a well filled with baking soda? Okay, her reaction is sort of the mental equivalent of that.

Putting aside Maury's cravenness and whether or not this is all a put-on, it's undeniable that this snippet from the Povich show has a train-wreck watchability factor that's off the scale. You can't look away. You watch it and then you send it to your friends.

Oh, that's right. You send it to your friends. Because if you've seen the Pickle Phobia show, chances are you didn't see it when it was originally broadcast on daytime TV. The incident has only become part of pop culture since it started making the rounds on the internet. Usually via the clip posted on YouTube. That's how everyone has seen it. When it was originally broadcast, it slipped past the cultural consciousness completely unnoticed. It wasn't until it entered the virtual world that it caught fire and became a phenomenon.

The same is true with the Honda Element ad that features a cartoon Element at the beach talking with a cartoon crab. The crab is fixated on his purpose in life and can only repeat its mantra: "I pinch.". It's hysterical.

I bet you didn't see it on TV, though.

The evolution of these two snippets of video from standard broadcast fare to cultural touchpoints points out what seems to be a technological milestone: evidence that the technorati may have become, for the very first time, that segment of the population that steers the pop culture.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Graffiti in Berlin

Check out some of the work of British graffiti artist Bansky.

Pretty awesome.


Clap for the Wolfman

When was the last time you thought about Wolfman Jack?

No, honestly.

Probably around the time he died, right?

Like maybe 10 years ago?

Look, I'm not claiming to be the valiant keeper of any flame. Like most people, I remember Jack from The Midnight Special, American Graffiti, and his syndicated radio show.

WCOD, out of Hyannis, used to broadcast his weekend show and I remember tooling around town, mildly bemused by the Wolfman's ability to skate along the edge between coolness and total sell-out. Like Elvis, the Wolfman himself was never as cool as his legacy. He was pretty hokey, and yet, sorta cool at the same time. And because his persona was so cartoonish, it actually made him more authentic. It was a strange dichotomy.

And yet, by today's standards, Wolfman Jack was an artiste.

When I was younger, deejays were real personalities. You had Charles Laquidara, Steve Carradine, B.J. Dean, Karen Grace, Pete Sawyer on WMVY with his unparalleled oldies show, Austin in Boston, and even Mike and Cousin on WOKQ back when I was in college in New Hampshire. I didn't even listen to Sunny Joe White, but whenever I stopped momentarily on his spot on the dial, you knew you were listening to a real presence on the airwaves. These were people for whom radio wasn't only a job, it was an art.

Now, what do we have? Delilah?


Good god, how far we've fallen. We don't even have actual deejays anymore. They've all been replaced with redneck talk show hosts or generic, pleasant-sounding people sitting in studios in Fort Worth or Manassas recording bumper tracks. (I was going to say Bakersfield, but I realized that the very existence of Buck Owens makes anything coming out of Bakersfield okay in my book).

I mean, I know it's only radio... but radio used to mean something. It was comforting knowing Mike Malone was out there, kicking down the doors and spinning raw music. I liked Jeff Starr's weirdness.

The last real talent around here, Frank Foley, a guy who deserves a national audience just on the basis of his ability to make funny on his feet, has been replaced by one more sputtering ranting political wanker.

Still, there's hope. People are discovering podcasting as the new outlet for their passion. And the personalities are shining through. CC Chapman, Cheryl Waters, Miami Steve and others are the kind of folks for whom radio once provided a home. It's good to know they're still out there.

Jocks programming their own stuff are an American tradition.

They're a rare breed, but, like the now-blight-resistant Chestnut tree, the reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated.

Next time you hear one of them, think of the Wolfman.

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