Listening to Art Bell from East of the Rockies

16 Apr

I opened up Twitter and saw a message from a friend. He wanted my thoughts on the passing of Art Bell. At some point, we had discussed how both of us had listened to Coast to Coast AM into the wee hours of the night. Now, the host of that show was gone.

I first heard of Art Bell on another radio show. I was driving through the night, and a local talk host was discussing Bell’s sudden and mysterious retirement. This was sometime in the 1990s before we had instant access to everything. I had to do some searching to find out the scoop and to find out if he would ever return to the airwaves.

He made a triumphant return, and, although I had joined the party late, Bell became a late night staple for me. Despite the show’s name, he was on the FM dial in Nashville. At midnight, I would put in my headphones and listen for the theme music to start. It was “The Chase” by Giorgio Moroder, and I cannot listen to that song without thinking that an interview about UFOs is coming up next.

My favorite segments were with Richard C. Hoagland talking about NASA and the face on Mars. For months, they talked about the secret messages in the movie Mission to Mars. I went to see it just because they talked about it.

Zecharia Sitchin was also a great guest. His specialty was ancient astronauts and their influence on humanity.

Bell also took calls from listeners, and they always had stories of conspiracies or the paranormal. They would call in from East of the Rockies and West of the Rockies.

I would stay up too late listening to those shows, but I always fell asleep at some point. I wonder how many dreams were influenced by the voices coming through the headphones with words of weird stuff.

At some point, I stopped listening to Coast to Coast AM, but I always wondered about everyone who listened to it. Did they listen for entertainment? Did they believe what they were hearing? Was it a little of both?

I have also wondered about me. I listened for the entertainment value. However, some of it started seeping into my brain. How did it affect my ideas?

One of my colleagues at work teaches a class on conspiracy theories in American history. Maybe I should ask him.

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In My Life

1 Apr

The record player is spinning one of my favorite artists, and one of my favorite songs just came through the speakers.

“In My Life” has always spoken to me. The Beatles originally recorded the song, but that is not the version that I like. It is Jose Feliciano and his guitar that strike a chord with me. There is something haunting about his rendition.

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

In my life I love you more

It is an awesome song, and Jose does it well. You should give it a listen.

Talking About Acting in a University Cafeteria

15 Mar

Today, I had lunch in our campus cafeteria. The big crowds had yet to arrive, and I saw our Theater Director eating alone. I loaded up with my grilled cheese sandwich and french fries and sat at his table. We have had many conversations through the years, but I had never asked what everyone should ask a Theater Director.

Who, in your opinion, is the greatest actor of all time?

His immediate answer was Laurence Olivier. He also thinks that James Dean was a natural and that Marlon Brando tried too hard. When I asked about current actors, he said that Denzel Washington is at the top of the list along with Meryl Streep. Although, Streep probably gets nominated for awards when she should not because of who she is.

It was an interesting conversation that delved into acting styles, acting teachers and the mistakes that he feels people have made with each. However, it got really interesting when he asked this question.

Have I ever told you about my older brother?

This is the story that followed.

His older brother dropped out of college and went to Hollywood. He was a handsome guy with dark hair, green eyes and a great smile. In short, he fit the mold. Like most people, he struggled for work and was constantly being turned down at auditions. However, there was a time when everything clicked.

He auditioned for a new television series and got the call. He had a role in the show.

Unfortunately, he received another call from a friend with news that he did not want to hear. His name had come up, and he was going to receive his draft letter. The friend said that there was no way to stop it. If he wanted to get out of being drafted, then he had to immediately sign up for the National Guard. That meant giving up the role in the new television series.

The decision was made. He turned down the role and went into training with the National Guard. The producers of the show replaced him with a slightly older actor who was beyond draft age.

The television show was Rawhide. The role was Rowdy Yates. The replacement actor was Clint Eastwood.

Our Theater Director’s brother returned home to Nashville, fell in love and got married.

Clint went on to a modicum of fame.

The Oddity of Appetizers

5 Mar

We dine out quite a bit. Nashville has developed a vibrant restaurant scene, and we try out as many trendy places as we can. The menus are always filled with choices that all sound delicious, and we cannot help but try a variety of items. That usually means getting an appetizer before our main course.

At most places, the appetizers bother me.

It is not the taste. In fact, I have found few appetizers that I did not like. Rather, it is the number. I have noticed that many restaurants serve their appetizers in odd numbers.

We order the cheese fritters at Amerigo, and they bring out five. This is us after eating five fritters.

We order deviled eggs at Bricktop’s, and they bring out five. For those who are not familiar with deviled eggs, they cuts eggs in half and take out the yolk. They then mix the yolk up with other great stuff and put that mixture back in the egg white. When I see five deviled eggs, I see two and a half eggs and wonder what happened to the other half. Why not bring out six?

The odd number of appetizers bothers me because they cannot be divided evenly among the diners. Just take the five fritters. If there are two dinners, which is often the case, then there may be a fight over the fifth one. That may definitely happen because the fritters are awesome.

Think about what happens if there are three diners. For example, there could be parents with a child. Then, you have one each and two left over. How do you divide that?

A lot of times, couples dine out together. Do you divide the fifth fritter into quarters?

The only way this works is if five people are dining, and I am certain that does not happen very often.

In my opinion, restaurants should tackle this issue because it is definitely a misstep within the industry that leaves diners in a quandary. Luckily for them, I have a few suggestions.

First, count the number of diners at the table and serve that many portions of the appetizer.

Two people equal two portions. This would also prevent them from stuffing themselves before the main course.

Three people equal three portions.

You get the point.

If it is a large table, then we understand that restaurants cannot financially do this. Those people can order more than one appetizer.

Second, serve an amount of portions that is easily divided amongst everyone. I have thought about this a lot and determined that six is the best number.

Two people get three portions each. They may not be hungry when the main course arrives, but the fritters or deviled eggs were definitely divisible.

Three people get two portions each. See, you have taken care of two amounts of diners that are probably common.

Four people gets trickier, but it is not insurmountable. Each person gets one, and the other two are split between each couple.

Five diners make six portions impossible to deal with. My suggestion is to leave the fifth wheel at home.

I have been thinking about this problem for a while, but I finally decided to write about it after dinner on Friday night. We went to the Yellow Porch and ordered appetizers. They were awesome, and, lo and behold, they were served in an even number. It was not the optimum six, but it was an easily handled four.

Finally, a restaurant is close to figuring out the oddity of appetizers.

Questions

27 Feb

What happens if you enter a school zone before the light starts blinking, and it starts blinking while you are driving through at a normal rate of speed?

Why do people back into parking spots?

Whatever happened to Yahoo Serious?

Who shot J.R.?

Did Christopher Sholes think the keyboard of his invention would be used on another invention?

Why do glasses of water sweat?

Did Jeremiah Johnson really stay in the mountains?

Who was the first person to drink milk from a cow?

Who was the first person to think eating fungus was a good idea?

Is there a rhyme or reason?

Who shot Liberty Valance?

Who was Earl Grey, and why is tea named after him?

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Which is better – red chili sauce or green chili sauce?

Why am I typing a list of questions?

It Has Been a While

17 Feb

It has been a while since I posted something on this blog. Actually, it has been a month. That is the longest I have ever gone without writing. However, there is a good reason.

We moved.

For those who do not know, moving is a time-consuming process with a lot of moving parts. Heck, we just got internet today. It is hard to blog without internet.

Although we have been here for a couple of weeks, things are still in a state of flux. Many things are not in the places that they should be in. We have not figured out all of the light switches. However, we are getting settled in.

I really have nothing to write about. I just wanted everyone to know that I have not gone anywhere.

I will leave you with this.

Today, I sat around the house while the internet got hooked up. I got some reading done. Currently, I am reading The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins. I always liked the movie and decided to read the book. It must have been scandalous when it came out in 1961.

I also watched Waterworld for the first time. According to everything I had heard, it is one of the worst movies of all time. Well, it was not that bad. In fact, I kind of enjoyed Dennis Hopper as the bad guy.

Anyway, I promise to not to stay gone for a month in the future.

There Are Two Americas

15 Jan

There are two Americas.

I am not talking about Democrat and Republican. I am not talking about conservative and liberal. I am not even talking about anti-Trump and pro-Trump.

I am talking about Waffle House American and IHOP America.

There is an IHOP a few exits down the interstate with decent pancakes, but we live in the middle of Waffle House America. Those of you who live in IHOP America are missing out in the wonders of a 24 hour breakfast extravaganza.

The wonders of Waffle House are many, but it starts with the hash browns. You can get them scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced and any combination therein. Personally, I like them simply covered. Although, I have gotten them covered and chunked.

In my mind, the ham and cheese omelette is the best accompaniment with the hash browns. The eggs are fluffy, and the cheese is cheesy. What is better than an omelette with cheese along with hash browns covered with cheese?

This morning, we ate at Waffle House in Georgia, the headquarters of Waffle House and the center of the Waffle House world. The restaurant, as always, was filled with a variety of people. In fact, I have always considered Waffle House to be a microcosm of Waffle House America. At any time, you can run into all kinds of people.

Today, we sat next to a young couple who could have been described as Yuppie if being a Yuppie was still a thing. Behind them sat a couple of Muslim women with their kids sitting in the next booth. An elderly man sat alone at the counter next to a man and his young son. An Alabama fan sat on the other side of them. You can always find an Alabama fan in Waffle House.

Here is the thing. There was none of that stereotypical southerners hate everyone nonsense. People of different religions and races were eating a meal in a small restaurant. Perhaps waffles are our great unifier. Everyone loves waffles. If they do not love waffles, then they have to love hash browns covered.

Waffle House is an amazing place, but the system is the most amazing part of it. The wait staff takes orders and, like all good table waiters, write down the order. Then, they stand in a certain spot and yell the order to the cooks. The cooks never see a written order. They remember it all in some kind of Waffle House code. Many times, I have sat in Waffle House in the wee hours of the morning and wondered about their ability to remember everything.

Did I mention wee hours? Waffle House has always been the place for late night revelers who need to soak up the night’s libations with greasy food. It has been the restaurant of choice after many concerts and nights on the town.

There are great stories about nighttime Waffle House visits, but my favorite involves an inebriated friend who wanted a Waffle House shirt. He spent the entire time trying to buy the shirt off the manager’s back. Before we left, he had purchased it for $500. It was ridiculous. The manager just went to his car and put on another one.

In Waffle House America, the yellow sign is a beacon for weary travelers.

It is a warm place in the middle of a cold winter night. It is one last stop who need a hangover cure before the hangover hits. It is a family diner for families headed to church. It is a place for those who have a hankering for breakfast food at dinner time. It is a place where you always recognize the people even if you do not know who they are.

There are two Americas – Waffle House America and IHOP America. Now, someone please tell me about the wonders of that other place.