Art on the Airwaves

Tonight’s broadcast is a Public Service Announcement on behalf of my wife, the ultra-artistic Wendy Currier Zumwalt (art name Wendy Currier). Lauren Gawthrop interviewed both Wendy and Gwen Heffner of the Kentucky Artisan Center yesterday, April 22nd, on one of our local stations, WTVQ-TV. The Artisan Center has several pieces of Wendy’s artwork on exhibit right now, and she’s been selling several of her pieces, too. Here’s a link to the interview. Check it out, please. I’m really proud of her:

Perhaps I’m a tad bit biased, but, hey, she’s one heckuva good artist. Take a look and see. Here’s a link to her website:

And to her blog:

And you can find her on Facebook as Wendy Zumwalt.

That’s all I have for tonight.

‘til next time… Adios.

Posted in Visual Arts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lookin’ for that Muse Train


Oh, lordy, where is my muse. Lookin’ for that Muse Train. I’ve had loads of time today to work on what I’m supposed to be working on, and now I’m waiting on my Muse to stop by and pick me up, take me down the road where those words are harvested.

And, that’s why I’m doing this post right now. Trying to get the fingers and brain revved up, cranked to attack speed.

First, though, I had a thought the other day while driving home from work. And, you folks know me, and how dangerous it is when I’m left on my own to wonder about words. Remember, you’ve been warned.

I was at a stoplight and looked to the left because it sounded as though something was approaching from this way. Nope, I thought, it sounds as though it’s coming from this way, looking to the right. So, I got on this train of thought about the words ‘this’ and ‘that’. If I look over ‘this’ way , then when I look another direction, should it be ‘that’ way or another ‘this’ way? And if I have something in my hand, am I holding ‘this’, or am I holding ‘that’, and would I know the difference? So, which this is this and which this is that?

Anyway, I’ve had fun, and I’m sufficiently up to escape velocity for working on my book. Glad I could confuse you folks.

‘til next time… Adios.

Posted in Random Meditations, writing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Professor Quatermass and the Trouble with Brides of the Tarantula

Morning Calisthenics

Time for my morning calisthenics

Yesterday afternoon the Scoobies gathered for the First Ever 1955 Boomer Birthday Dash Science Fiction and Horror Movie Extravaganza. As some of our members were born in ‘55, and everyone will celebrate another spin around the sun this year, we showed four movies, all released in 1955.

We cranked things up with one of my all-time favorites of the Big Bug species, Tarantula, it crawled onto our screens on 12/14/55. Evenly divided between those of us who’ve seen it and those who hadn’t, this is a well-done (pun intended, as Big T gets crispy-fried at the end). I’m not even doing a spoiler alert, as you pretty much know how these things wrap up.

Played straight, and well-acted, we have the great Leo G. Carroll as Prof. Deemer, living and working 20 miles out in the desert in a really cool house. Not really a mad scientist (maybe irritated, but not mad), he’s working in the feld of nutrient biology, trying to grow bigger critters for a hungry world — big rat, big guinea pig, and, of course, the star of the show, a big tarantula. Bad stuff happens, Big T gets loose, starts eating cows and people, and grows to ginormous proportions, until Clint Eastwood and his jet squadron come flying in with a batch of napalm.

Next up we switched gears to good ol’ Edward D. Wood, Jr., and Bride of the Monster, hitting the big screen in Hollyweed, 5/11/55. Bride and Tarantula both had atomic themes to them, in keeping with the time period. That was when Our Friend the Atom would solve everything. The first title for Bride was Bride of the Atom, but it sounded as though the producer might not have been happy with that, as he wanted everything to get nuked at the end to show all of us how dangerous Our Friend the Atom was. Hey, c’mon, it was a drive-in movie. Stuff blowing up was what we loved watching.

Bride had Bela Lugosi in a lab with Tor Johnson trying to make a race of superhumans with “… the strength of 20 men”. Okay, sure, why not? Guess he had nothing better to do. ‘Course, most of them died, but hey… We also had lightning, shots of a real octopus, an alligator, a stolen prop octopus, lab equipment, and 1950’s-style torpedo bras. And lots of bad acting. Lots. It was, naturally, lots of fun.

Next up we got serious once again with the Quatermass Xperiment, released in the UK 9/28/55. They kept saying Quoitermass, and I’m not sure why that was, but they also misspelled Experiment, so, I don’t what all that was about. Nevertheless, I had always wanted to see this film, having heard that it had a high creep factor, and they weren’t kidding.

Prof. Quatermass (Brian Donlevy) sends three men up in a rocket, rocket crashes back on terra firma, only one guy is left. And something ain’t quite right with the guy that comes back. This was back pre-Twilight Zone and pre-Outer Limits. Heck, it was before any of us really went outta-this-world, so there was plenty of speculation as to what would happen up there. It’s an extremely well-done film, dead-serious, looks to have been shot mostly at night, which helped with the creep factor. I can highly recommend this one. This seems to have set the stage for other alien-themed sci-fi shows and movies to come, especially Alien, The Green Slime, The Blob, The Andromeda Strain, and several Zone and Limits episodes.

We wrapped up with a great little quirky Hitchcock film that many folks had seen, but I never had. The Trouble with Harry, filmed in Vermont and released in Barre, Vermont for its initial release, 9/27/55, shows to anyone what a wild sense of humor Hitch had. Based on the novel of the same name, it’s amazing how much trouble a dead guy, namely Harry, could cause.

Starring Edmund Gwenn as Capt. Albert Wiles (Kris Kringle from Miracle on 34th Street), he’s out hunting rabbits, sees good ol’ dead Harry sprawled out on this hill, and assumes he accidentally shot him when he was shootin’ at rabbits. As more time passes, and Capt. Wiles deliberates on what to do with Harry, other folks stop by, and, it seems, each has some sort of interest in Harry, one way or another. Over the course of the movie Harry gets buried/reburied numerous times, more people in the odd little Vermont community become involved, and Harry remains unmoved on the matters. The people in the little town are all wonderfully just slightly off-plumb. It’s the kind of town that, if you’re a little bit odd yourself, you’d like to move to.

Each movie we viewed was unique in its own way, each different, all fun. Seems ‘55 was a good year, at least for the crop that we harvested yesterday.

‘til next time… Adios.

Posted in Drive-in Theater, Movie Reviews, Random Meditations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mickey Mantle Died in My Bicycle Spokes

Trading comics. Once, oh so many years ago, before we knew comic books would or could become valuable, we swapped ‘em among each other. Same way with baseball cards. Don’t know if I ever owned a Mickey Mantle, but if I did, he probably died from a series of concussions at the hands of my bicycle spokes. Never got to see him play for real, but he sure made a great motor sound on my bike.

But back to comic books. When we had ‘em, no one thought about actually collecting them, or if they did think about collecting, they didn’t believe they’d ever become valuable. Nope. They were for pulling off the pictures with Silly Putty. Or cutting up to paste on something. Or just reading the heck out of them until they fell apart from pure kid love. We drew on them, tossed them around, and all-around abused them. Sometimes they met their end in a school science project, recycled, along with some water and flour, as a papier mache volcano.

One of the best things about comic books was the keen stuff you could send off for – if you could scrape enough allowance together. Sea Monkeys, those green plastic army soldiers (I was uptown one time – I got a box of red and blue Revolutionary War soldiers), X-ray glasses (which didn’t work – they just made a shadowy outline around something when you looked through them), and the many different sales clubs you could get into. I sold greeting cards door-to-door for a short while, trying to get enough coin together to but something or other.

Yeah, I collect some now. I protect them in plastic sleeves, put them in their own boxes. A few years back when I first got into collecting, I’d buy two issues of a comic – one for reading, the other for preserving. But every so often now I buy one, and I drag it around, toss it here and there, even fold the cover back. Just to remember what pure kid love was.

‘til next time… Adios.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Cloudy With a Chance of Sharks

Hey, folks, guess what’s coming back to a flat-screen (or i-thingy or smart-a**-thingy) near us in July? Yup, none other than Sharknado 2: The Second One, brought to us by those fine lunatics of The Asylum film company. They love making mockbusters and we love watching ‘em make mock. So, get your dorsals ready. I know I’m looking forward to it.

First time around, the City of Angels was in danger. Now Fin (Ian Ziering – isn’t that a great name for a surfer/flying shark fighter?) and April (Tara Reid) have a run-in with east coast flying sharks in the Big Apple. We’ve lost one of our players this time (Cassie Scerbo as Nova), but we get in her place Vivica A. Fox as Skye. Sure, why not?

And we lost John Heard, who had to go Home Alone with a toe tag, but we’ve got Billy Ray Cyrus, Andy Dick, Judd Hirsch, and Kelly Osbourne this time. Wonder which of the celebrities gets the pleasure of being shark food first? Judd Hirsch might take the first taxi out of town and Billy Ray could possibly break his achy, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I just don’t know how it can get any better than Fin jumping up at an airborne shark, armed only with a chain saw. Shades of Bruce Campbell. I’ve heard, though, they cut open one of the sharks and out pops Robert Shaw.

‘til next time… Adios.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Mornings, Cereal, and Lots of Sugar

Saturday Morning Cartoons – R.I.P.

Felt I needed to do that. For years, this was a ritual for kids. Get up, get hollered at by our parents who were trying to sleep, rustle up some food (mine was Alpha- Bits, milk, plenty of sugar), start things off by turning on the tube, get hollered at again ‘cause the sound was too loud, and settle in for the morning. At some point, either one-half or the whole parent team would throw me outside to play (back when we went outside to play and could actually damage ourselves).

But for a solid three or four hours I sat in front of the magic box and watched, without guilt, some of the finest cartoons ever, not computer-generated. Hand-drawn. And with some of the best voice actors ever. Let’s time hop back to an average Saturday morning in ’64.

On CBS, at 9, we crank things up with The Alvin Show, followed by Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. Tennessee, a penguin (I love that name, Tennessee Tuxedo), lived in a zoo with his buddy, a walrus named Chumley. The late great Don Addams (Maxwell Smart – “Sorry about that, Chief.”) voiced Tennessee. Then we had Quick Draw McGraw (I’ll do the thinnin’ around here.”), Mighty Mouse Playhouse (“Here I come to save the day…”), and Linus the Lionhearted (this wasn’t one of my faves, so I probably went for more Alpha-Bits and some Nestle’s Quik – 4 tablespoons, not teaspoons). We’re in the home stretch now with the The Jetsons (“Jane! Stop this crazy thing! Jaaannne!”), hit a snag at noon.

Decision time. One channel had Beany and Cecil (Cecil the sea-sick sea serpent – who came up with that? I think drugs were involved), the other channel had Sky King.

That’s when I’d get yelled at again because I’d try watching both at once, spinning the ol’ tuner back and forth (“You’re going to wear out the dial! Go outside and play!” “Aw, Mom… I won’t do it anymore. I promise.”)

We’d wrap things up with The Bugs Bunny Show, and finally Hoppity Hooper. Then it was time to go outside and play for real because the put stupid old adult news stuff on. That just wasn’t right, man.

Those were the days when we got an education from TV. Captain Kangaroo, for example. Our folks would hound us all the time about saying please and thank you, but if the Captain told us to do so, we did. Days of Magic Drawing Board, Grandfather Clock, and picture books read to us. Where the worst thing that would happen was Mister Moose dropping ping pong balls on the Captain.

Granted, the generation that came along right after us got Mister Rogers and Sesame Street, so they still had some calm, insightful, fun, and educational shows. How do I know? Because even going into adulthood I still would watch those shows. I was in my late teens when one of the most memorable, creative, fun, and educational group of cartoons appeared.

Schoolhouse Rock.

Didn’t matter how old you were, Schoolhouse Rock was a hoot, with its great animation and catchy little tunes. And what a great way to remember all those speech parts, huh?

Conjunction junction, what’s your function? Yeah, I still love it.

So, in honor of those, I leave you tonight with this link. Have fun.

Schoolhouse Rock tribute

‘til next time… Adios.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where the Heck Did I Leave Those Words?

We have been away from the house for a day, motelling it. Ah, Wendy and I both love motels. A chance to get away from the regular chores, visit bookstores and coffee shops, and write. And also art work. Well, Wen’s doing the art work. I’m writing. The challenge, as always, is keeping my paws off Facebook, and the almost insane desire to check how many hits I have on my blog. Well, at least I haven’t been hitting Angry Birds much.

Sometimes just a change of scenery is enough to get the brain matter working again. I’m keying this while taking a brief break from my novel. I’ve been working on a section that is moving slowly for me. Slowly for me the writer, hopefully not slowly for my eventual readers. I’ve been away from my book for three days and that seemed to get my fingers and brain all sticky. I’ve hit the flow a couple of times this morning, which always feels good.

Productive time this morning, gradually the words return to me. Here, words! Here, words! Come on, that’s a good word. There are times when I hit it right off, other times when the engine’s cold. Now I’m idling okay. RPM’s are back to where they should be.

Well, back at it. All you creatives out there get goin’ and do something, too.

‘til next time… Adios.

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments