Old Time Radio at OTRCat!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Now, with VIDEO!!

I keep hearing them: the plaintive bleats of the left about how one in six Americans struggle with Hunger. Radio ads are regularly played that trumpet this dreadful statistic. One person in six is going hungry.

Prove it. Shoot, I maintain that all Americans have a problem with hunger, several times a day. Six Americans out of six. That is not an epidemic, because meal-time solves the problem.

"That was unfeeling and hurtful."

No. I just want to establish that there are ways and times to ask questions to derive the answer you require.

I do not deny that some have poverty issues, but if the number of 16+% seems astonishingly high. I mean, if 44 million people are on food stamps, that would indicate one remedy for the situation, and that a big bunch of people have sussed it out.

I do NOT believe the 1 in 6 number.

Of course, I have good reason to suspect skullduggery. Check out the anti-obesity fitness ads the US Givement is playing. Momma sends Daughter up and down stairs to look for Mom's purse...which Mom knows is in none of those places. She lies to her daughter to get her to scramble up and down the stairs and burn off some of those Skittles and Big Macs, but it's OK, because it's for the girl's own good.

Enjoy that nursing home, Mom!

The current administration thinks so little of truth, and the PEE-pul, that they encourage lying to your kids. For a Good Cause.

In other news, not raising the Debt Ceiling will automatically cause the US to default.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why Do the Big Box Stores Hate the Poor?

The House of 'Vark has been without a washing machine for two weeks, now. Fear not, we do not smell like the third day of the gaming room at a con, for there is an abundance of decent laundromats, and the Dread Dormomoo has dealt with the necessities at the "Wash and Gossip", though she has foregone the latter. Our Frigidaire front loader uses a control board that had to be first used on Atlantis' final pizza run to the ISS, because it sure isn't here. Maybe they can find one on Ganymede. Our helpful and very good repairman, Jay, is still awaiting delivery. When the D.D. was inquiring as to perhaps getting a used machine to replace our venerable washer, Jay said that he didn't have one, and that they are very hard to get, now.

The devil being in the details, herself asked "Why?". "The big stores offer free pickup of the old machines when a customer buys a new one." came the reply.

The stores then strip 'em, and recycle them, thus removing them from the marketplace. Think "No Cash for Clunkers". This severely reduces the number of second-hand machines around that are repairable and resellable to folks of limited means by guys like Jay. Not a good situation. Our thought: guys like Jay could make a market by advertising, offering $25-$50 for the old machines. "Why give 'em away to Lowes, when we'll pay you for them?" The price of a used machine may go up marginally, but it would be a way to get the experienced washers, dryers and refrigerators back into the marketplace, and a little cash back in the hands of the original owners. I think it could work.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Freedom of Religion is a cornerstone of the YouEssofAY.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What worries me is the historical context of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. Just as (deliberate) misreading of the 14th Amendment outside of its historical milieu has saddled us with the anchor baby situation of today, has an over-broad view of the 1st Amendment opened the door to some of our thornier current issues? Since the majority of what was "religious" to the Founders came from "Biblical Religion", could it not be argued that religions foreign to our shores, non-Biblical in their scope, and inimical to the Founders' intentions, should not be included in our understanding of it? Even in Jefferson's time, the Muslim Barbary pirates were a pain. (I find "Dummies.com" to be preferable to Wikipedia.)

So, the obvious question lurking here is: Should Islam even be considered under the 1st Amendment, since it was foreign to our shores at the time of the writing of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights, and provably antagonistic to our Republic over two centuries ago?

I am serious in my question, and it is a question I believe should be asked. I am not printing up t-shirts and banners demanding the ouster of every Muslim, Scientologist, and Neo-Zoroastrian from our currently ill-championed borders, but as a strict constructionist kind of guy, I would like some discussion of this idea.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Speaking of city-destroying monsters, we of Chez 'Vark are in celebration mode. Saturday is The Dread Dormomoo's and my something-somethingth anniversary. We are celebrating on Friday however (which is a great departure for me, because I get the hives over people opening their presents on Christmas Eve), because our preferred Japanese restaurant is not open for lunch on Saturday, and we prefer their lunch menu. Lest you think it is my inner Jack Benny talking, the food does seem to be better, and there is a larger variety, with things like bento boxes and such. This is where we learned to eat sushi, and enjoy it (de rigueur for anime fans, you know). Loen, our youngest, is a waiter there, and will likely be serving us. Nice.

I have gotten her a...ahhhh, you thought you had me! What? You think she reads this train wreck?
Well, you'll just have to wait.

As much as I love anime, my real entertainment love is Old Time Radio. The theater of the mind beats anything on any screen today, big or less-than-big. The works of Arch Oboler match any big-screen gore-fest, because the horror is in your head. (Click the link and go to the Internet Archives for downloads to whet your appetite.) Go to Jon at OTRCat for inexpensive and complete MP3 collections. The link is at the top of the page. Here is an example of the horror quotient from Lights Out, the series that established Oboler as heir-apparent of Willis Cooper:

Wyllis Cooper, who created, wrote, and produced it, was then a 36-year-old staffer in Chicago's NBC Studios. Cooper created his horror "by raiding the larder." For the purposed of Lights Out sound effects, people were what they ate. The sound of a butcher knife rending a piece of uncooked pork was, when accompanied by shrieks and screams, the essence of murder to a listener alone at midnight. Real bones were broken - spareribs snapped with a pipe wrench. Bacon in a frypan gave a vivid impression of a body just electrocuted. And the cannibalism effect was actually a zealous actor. Gurgling and smacking his lips as he slurped up a bowl of spaghetti. Cabbages sounded like human heads when chopped open with a cleaver, and carrots had the pleasant resonance of fingers being lopped off. Arch Oboler's celebrated tale of a man turned inside-out by a demonic fog was accomplished by soaking a rubber glove in water and stripping it off at the microphone while a berry basket was curshed at the same instant. The listener saw none of this. The listener saw carnage and death.

Cooper left the show in 1936 and Oboler was given the job. Oboler lost no time establishing himself as the new master of the macabre. Between May 1936 and July 1938, he wrote and directed more than 100 Lights Out plays.

Comedy is amazing as well. The Jack Benny Program was a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Half-a-century and more before Seinfeld, his was a self-consistent alternate universe of lunacy, a radio show about a radio show. There is nothing funnier, unless it's Fibber McGee and Molly, or The Great Gildersleeve. AS funny...as funny.

If you enjoyed cartoons in the 50's and 60's, you were a beneficiary of OTR actors. Standards like Bud Collyer and Jackson Beck (Superman, both radio and cartoon), Sheldon Leonard (Jack Benny's racing tout, and Linus the Lionharted), Kenny Delmar (Sen. Claghorn on Fred Allen's show, and The Hunter on The King and Odie, Commander McBragg), Mel Blanc, Alan Reed, and Bea Benaderet to name a few.

With long drives and high cable rates, go OTR. You will have wonderful entertainment, from comedy to drama to fantasy, horror and wonderful science fiction. Jon will feed your habit for little coin.

You can trust this Aardvark. He knows.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So, the victory cigar is in fact Nathan's bigger-than-the-bun beef franks. Nathan's are well worth the premium price, as they are a frank with real flavor, not just extruded meat-paste flavor. Garlicky goodness!


Why a victory cigar? Riatsila and I just got back from G-Fest 18, the Godzilla and other giant-monster fan convention in Chicago. Well...Rosemont, but a nod's as good as a wink to a blind Barugon. We have had another record-breaking sales weekend, but that isn't the best part. We had a good time, an awesome time, a fun time. YAAAAAAY! J.D., Ruth, and Peyton Lees put on as good and drama-free con as one could wish for. The attendee number I heard was 1200, but that isn't official. The amazing thing is that those 1200 people were smiling. They were happy. They were often happy families! I do dozens of conventions a year, and G-Fest takes the prize as the fun, happy con.

The Kaiju Brothers were there, three guys who love giant monster movies, and who love Things Aardvark. Great seeing you all!

We ate the fat and drank the sweet. especially at Romano's, a family Italian place in a little strip mall in Rosemont. I was verklempt, the food was so very good. It is as good a reason as any to visit Chicago. A Godzilla-sized reason!

My friend, the redoubtable Kez Wilson and his son were at our booth. Kez is the artist side of the Wilson-(Michael) Wolff pairing that produced the initial SUPERCAR comic in the early 2000s.
(Sign up to the Yahoo Group and enjoy the excellent writing, too!) The Wilson son discovered the gaming room and spent the weekend displaying superiority at the Wii Godzilla game. Kez stayed at the booth with us, doing Kaiju and cartoon character card sketches for fans, and flogging the MONSTERVERSE property he is involved with. Kerry Gamill is behind a horror comic with Bela Lugosi as the title's "Cryptkeeper" host. A good time was had by all!

That was this weekend. I'm ready for next year!