Munchkin Tuesday: Spirograph

Remember Spirograph? I remember other people having one. Apparently they were expensive, because I always wanted one but never got it. Poop. ūüė¶

They’re not expensive these days. For $1.99, you can download a Spirograph app for your iPhone. It’s called RotoDoodle Pro, and it’s getting good reviews. Now, if somebody would just make an iPhone LOGO simulator, I could relive my fifth-grade gifted summer school classes….


Neil Diamond Impersonator Monday: Steve from Lemon Town

I have no idea who Steve is or where Lemon Town is, but I think he’s been listening to way too much of Neil Diamond’s Live in America album, because he’s got the cigarette-and-long-road-trip-ravaged vocals pretty much down….


I need another project …

… like I need a hole in my head, but you know I am addicted to overcommitment and always have been, and besides all that, this particular project needs to be done.

My latest volunteer project is an online news service, sort of like Ron’s Route 66 News blog, except this one will focus exclusively on Southwest Tulsa. We don’t have much coverage here at the moment. The Tulsa World stopped publishing its Westside Community section in 2008, and Tulsa County News ceased publication this spring, so there’s nowhere for people to find out what’s going on around here, nowhere for local businesses to advertise to local people, nowhere for schools and churches and clubs and charities to disseminate information about their events, and nobody seems to be documenting the history of Red Fork in the 21st century as it unfolds.

With that in mind, on Aug. 1, I will launch the Southwest Tulsa Bell, an online community newspaper in blog format. Between now and then, I need news tips — lots and lots of news tips. If you’re in Southwest Tulsa, I want a copy of every press release your business sends out. I want to be on the mailing list for your church newsletter, your club newsletter, your kid’s school, and anything and everything else you can think of.

The Bell will be online at The site is under construction at the moment, so there’s not much to see, but feel free to sneak a peek at the basic template if you’re interested.

We’ll see how this goes.


Folk Thursday: Judy Collins at Woodyfest

God bless the girl who posted this. It’s 14 minutes long, but it’s sooooo worth it. It’s from the concert we saw a couple of weekends ago.

Incidentally, that wobbly note toward the beginning of “Deportee” settled a debate. Ron thought she was Auto-Tuned because there was a slight echo in the mic. I was appalled by the very idea. I hate electronic pitch correction with every fiber of my being, for the same reason I hate performance-enhancing drugs and the designated hitter, and it would destroy my faith in humanity and probably cause a rip in the space-time continuum if Judy Collins cheated and used it.

“Judy Collins,” I assured Ron, “does not need #@$&!*% Auto-Tune.”

“I think she’s Auto-Tuned,” Ron insisted over the roar of the applause at the end of the song.

I glared at him. “No. This is not Cher. This is Judy Friggin’ Collins. I guaran-damn-tee you she is not Auto-Tuned.” (You can tell when I’m getting really wound up about something, because I speak in tmeses.)

And then she started singing again, and she missed that note, and I relaxed, safe in the knowledge that the space-time continuum would continue to operate unmolested for the time being.


Munchkin Tuesday: Judy Collins on Sesame Street

Don’t even try to act like you didn’t see this one coming.

I wish somebody would post the clip of her singing “This Is a Song Without a Reason,” which is what I was trying to find when I stumbled across this video. I don’t remember this song at all, though I’m sure I must have seen it.

Is anybody else surprised these lyrics passed muster for a children’s show?


Neil Diamond Impersonator Monday: Mark Thomas

This guy actually sounds pretty good, although the real Neil Diamond would never be able to hit that low note in “Sweet Caroline” so smoothly.

Speaking of which, they forgot to play that at the Drillers game tonight. No wonder we lost. (Yeeeeeeeah … that’s why we lost. Pay no attention to our four errors — two by mah-boy Arenado — or the Springfield Cardinals’ second baseman, whose defensive talents remind me of a certain Hall of Fame shortstop who used to turn backflips at Busch Stadium when I was a kid.)


Bucket list

Confession: One of my fondest dreams in life involves about 15 minutes with Judy Collins and a Hasselblad under a winter sky just the right shade of February blue-gray to pick up her eyes.

Unfortunately, I think that’s the sort of gift God only hands you if your name is Annie Leibovitz — but failing that, I’ll happily settle for respectable concert photos. Considering the fact that I didn’t have a zoom lens and was sitting on the ground in front of the stage, shooting through the snow fence that separated the real photographers from us mere mortals, I think these turned out pretty well. Behold:

I love how happy she looks here.
Dropping the ISO and the shutter speed would have removed the grain, but I can live with grain if I’ve successfully captured the moment, which I think I did.
Tuning the guitar.
Joking with the audience. She told a lot of funny stories.
The microphone is in the way, but I like the expression here.

There is no way to make this woman look bad. This is the third time I’ve seen her in concert, and this is the third time that I have been so distracted that I have literally forgotten to breathe for a few seconds, because she is so striking. I don’t know how anyone who has ever picked up a camera could look at her and not think: I have to photograph her.

She sounded as great as she looked, too. This was easily the best of the three concerts I’ve seen, and she nearly made me cry a couple of times. Is it hopelessly cheesy to say that I regard her voice as indisputable proof of the existence of a creative and benevolent God? Even Ron was impressed, and he’s never impressed at folk concerts. Great, great show.


Judy Blue Eyes


I have better pictures, but you’ll have to wait until I get them ‘Shopped. In the meantime, let me just sum up Woodyfest for you:

Judy. Freakin’. Collins.

And, y’know, some other people, but once she opened her mouth, nobody really thought about anything else.

Full report tomorrow, with fabulous pictures shot from about 15 feet away. And I brought the Rebel this time.


Not on my road, you don’t.

We don’t watch TV, so I have no idea how long this monstrosity has been out, but Wyndham Hotels has released a Microtel commercial in which an announcer makes some snarky comment about how “with some hotels, you never know what you’ll get” while images of mom-and-pop motels run in the background.

I wasn’t able to identify the first property shown in the commercial, but the second was so iconic it was impossible to miss: the Wigwam Motel on Route 66 in Holbrook, Ariz.

Got that? A multinational corporation which by its own admission has over 7,000 properties apparently feels so threatened by one tiny mom-and-pop motel that it has to attack it on national TV.

Wyndham is right about one thing: You never know what you’ll get with mom-and-pop motels — and that’s the point.¬†I travel to faraway places to have experiences I can’t have at home.

I like to sleep in concrete tepees. I like to cool off in a Texas-shaped pool. I like to bask in the soft blue glow of neon swallows under the high desert air. I like to listen to the quiet whir of a box fan in the window of an asphalt-shingled cabin in the Pennsylvania mountains. I like to unwind in vintage travel trailers. I like to listen to trains clatter past in the Arizona night as I fall asleep imagining the ghosts of long-ago Harvey Girls whispering in the corridors outside my room. I like to imagine Clark Gable’s bare feet touching the same honeycomb tile I stand on as I shower. And when personal tragedy forces me onto the road unexpectedly, I like to draw comfort from the compassionate hug that greets me at the door of a favorite haunt as the owner assures me that I am not alone, but that I travel with her thoughts and prayers.

I like all those things, and I regard all those places and their owners as friends.

I don’t take kindly to bullies picking on my friends. I’m guessing my readers don’t, either, which is why I am asking all of you for a favor: Watch the commercial, if you haven’t seen it yet, and then¬†take a few minutes to write Wyndham a little note explaining that you will not be staying in any of its affiliate hotels — Wyndham, Tryp, Wingate,¬†Hawthorn, Microtel, Dream, Planet Hollywood, Ramada, Baymont, Days Inn, Super 8,¬†Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Knights Inn, or Night Hotel New York — until it withdraws this unethical and dishonest ad and replaces it with a nationally televised commercial¬†promoting the Wigwams and formally apologizing for its lapse of ethics in falsely¬†implying that they are undesirable. If that motel shown at the¬†beginning of the commercial is still going, Wyndham owes it an apology and some free¬†advertising, too. (Anybody recognize it? I’m dying to throw it a little business.)

Click here for Wyndham’s e-mail contact form. If you’d rather send snail mail, you can send it to Wyndham Hotel Group, P.O. Box 5090, Aberdeen, SD 57401.¬†Or, if you prefer, you can simply call Wyndham at (800) 468-8737 or (605) 229-8737.

When you finish, please share this with anyone else who might be willing to do the same.

Thanks in advance for your support. This really has me hopping mad.