Friday, April 11, 2008

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

One of the great things about my job is that I get to drive long distances to go to a meeting and then drive home again. That doesn't sound like a positive thing, does it? But long drives in (sometimes) adverse weather conditions allows me to do some of my favorite things: listen to audiobooks and various far-flung radio stations; watch the weather; marvel at the landscape; and drive.

On Monday's trip from Cheyenne to Casper and back again, I drove through blowing snow, driving rain, and barrages of hail. In the morning, low clouds hugged the ground when I left Cheyenne. I finally emerged into the sun somewhere around Douglas. On the way south in the afternoon, I drove into towering storm clouds that must have been visible from 100 miles away. I swear I saw a funnel cloud dip from the dark trailing edge of the storm. But I could get nothing about tornadoes on the radio. The ink-dark wedge-shaped cloud must have been my imagination.

Wyoming Public Radio now has its signals all around the state. When I moved to Wyoming in 1991, you were lucky to get a signal once you left town. Now transponders across the state beam WPR into your car even when you're somewhere between Jeffrey City and Rawlins.

So, on Monday's trip, I tuned into Morning Music on WPR and then over to Progressive Radio out of Denver or Boulder or Aurora or one of those places in Colorado's Front Range Metroplex. Jay Marvin is on early in the morning, followed by Ed Schultz. Mr. Schultz recently got more than his allotted 15 minutes of fame when he called Sen. John McCain a warmonger at a North Dakota political rally. Repubs got all crazy when they heard it. How could John "We'll Be in Iraq for 100 Years" McCain be considered a warmonger? How could the man who once opposed torture now be in favor of it? How could the point man of the "Straight Talk Express" now be talking out of his ass when it comes to Iraq? How could the guy who supports Bush's war effort 110 percent be called a warmonger?

On Schultz's Monday morning show, caller after caller supported the talk show host. Don't apologize to anyone, they said. Stand by your guns! Schultz urged those who thought he was wrong to call McCain a warmonger to call him up and say so. A great silence was heard across the land. Not a single wingnut called to lambaste Schultz. Maybe they did later, once I tuned into my audiobook, "FUBAR." Brought to us by the folks at Majority report, "FUBAR" goes into detail about the Rapture Right's plans for our future. As it turns out, the only people with a future are those who have been born again. Liberals -- especially liberal bloggers -- will spend eternity in a lake of fire. Before the Rapture, we will be treated to life as imagined by Pat Robertson and his ilk. A land where birth control and free speech and libraries will be forbidden. In other words, hell on earth. The lake of fire might be the preferred alternative.

After awhile, I just had to tune in some R.E.M. or Wilco or Bruce and just mellow out. Watch the snow come swirling out of the dark clouds. And drive.


mpage225 said...

It's been a Bad Day, please don't take a picture...

MIke, there is no better antidote to the madness than my favorite band, R.E.M. Just got their new CD/DVD and highly recommend it. As Michael Stipe said on The Colbert Report, at least half the songs are political. They continue to fight the good fight and make some damn good music!

kainah said...

Yes, mpage225, I agree!! The new R.E.M. album is absolutely superb. And, Mike, if you act quickly, you might be able to get tickets for their June 3 show at Red Rocks. I'll be the one in the front row (disability seating) with the teal crutches!

mpage225 said...

kainah, I am very jealous! They are not playing Kansas City this tour. Saw them in 2003 outdoors (not quite Redrocks) and it was fabulous. glad you get to go, have a great time. Bob

Michael Shay said...

Kainah: Front row at Red Rocks for R.E.M.! I'll look for those teal crutches although, when I do, I may be sitting on the couch watching "R.E.M. Live at Red Rocks." I will probably be on the road to scenic Hulett, Wyo., on June 3. Please give hummingbirdminds a first-hand report. I've never seen R.E.M. in concert, and do love their new CD. They were a hoot on Stephen Colbert.

Michael Shay said...

Bob: Ain't it a shame that so many good bands come from Athens, Ga., home of The Dawgs? R.E.M., B-52s, Indigo Girls, etc. Gainesville gave us Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and a ska band that Kevin really liked, Less Than Jake. The Gainesville wikipedia entry says that it has a lively ska and punk scene with a couple of independent record labels and an annual rockfest. All that must have come after our years there. We did see some good concerts out on the lawn by the Reitz Union.

mpage225 said...

Mike, got to give it up for Athens in music, just not football or basketball! First time I heard about the B-52's I believe was at the Shay household when you brought me to Daytona one weekend.

Don't forget Gainesville also gave us Sister Hazel and Stephen Stills. And Bo Diddley lives outside Gainesville now.

My favorite concert on the lawn was Jimmy Buffet. And saw the last few songs of Mudcrutch playing on campus,right before they left for LA and became Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. By the way, Tom Petty is coming to KC in July and already have the tickets-the kids insisted, one thing they all agree on is they love Tom Petty.

And what was more fun than the annual Halloween Ball? I still have a flyer advertising Commander Cody at the HB. Good times, takes my mind off the mess we are in.


Michael Shay said...

Halloween Ball in G-ville! So much fun that I wouldn't want my daughter going to it, even if she could get into UF. I thought they finally did away with it.