Living Hell - Volume #1, Issue #8


August 28, 2001


  o Talk Radio
  o Movie Review
  o Heavy Metal Parking Lot
  o Raleigh Fire Department Errata

Talk Radio

G. Gordon is on vacation.  It's mid-August and the "G-Man," the ra-
dio host who or maybe whom I listen to on weekday mornings from 10
a.m. to 12, is MIA, Missing in Action.  Or, if you will, PIR.  Pre-
sent in Reruns.  He's "cruising the high seas," or so states a tap-
ed greeting at the top of each hour, before his show begins broad-
casting "repeats."  Like most other talk programs, host vacations
result in reruns.  (Some radio show, like Rush Limbaugh and Neil
Boortz, utilize guest hosts.)  Instead of replayed phone calls or
comedy bits (the latter of which Liddy doesn't have to begin with),
Gordo's show has been playing *interviews* for the last two weeks.
Hour-long chats that are staples (but not sole) features of his
regular program.  And, expectedly, the interviewees are chosen for
whatever interests Mr. Liddy.  The former lawyer, former FBI field
agent, and formerly incarcerated Watergate figure favors all things
related to the military, military history, law and legal matters,
guns, guns 'n' ammo, guns 'n' ammo 'n' gun laws, modern weaponry,
private and military aviation, "news of the day," both serious and
straight-read absurd (with frequent grammatical corrections from
Liddy), and the odd bit of "relationship advice," typically helping
some poor (male) schlep resolve a sex, dating, or marital problem.

And all of it delivered with a hearty sense of humor and the ex-
pected conservative political leanings.  A "man's man" radio show,
perhaps, but an exceptionally *interesting* one, especially these
past weeks as Liddy's been conversing (on tape) with authors of
varying impeccable credentials-- Alan Dershowitz on the O.J. trial,
a British POW on memory and its use during his World War II impris-
onment, a doctor-teaching nutritionist with "fat proofing" tips for
American parents.  Sixty minutes-- minus "crass commercial mes-
sages"-- of everything from "cubicle warfare" (e.g. competition in
the workplace) to evolutionary theories of mate selection.  So, lo
these last days, I've stayed fascinated.  And increasingly learned.
And, best of all, *captivated*.  Alas, at age 36, the ol' Diversion
Factor (DF) continues to climb higher.  Books and movies and music
selections are chosen with an ever-discriminating eye.  Time moves
faster, life grows shorter, and the rationale "maybe it'll get bet-
ter" is no longer an option.  These days, tepid, lukewarm, or only
half-interesting is discarded as readily as crappy.  In the case of
radio shows, that means a channel change.  Or, if listening while
driving, switching to a compact disc.  (The latter is also utilized
during commercial breaks of otherwise interesting programs.  Thank
God for CD changers...)

Most of my *radio* listening is done while driving.  For some years
now, I've been choosing "talk" over music, despite having a car CD
player and a dozen-plus "favorites" at the ready.  For Yours Dis-
traction Seeking, an extended, engaging conversation is the holiest
of holies.  Nearly *any* topic is fine, 'less it's a rehash of In-
formation Already Heard.  (And as happens all too often with Presi-
dential pundits discussing the issues de jour.)  Political leanings
rarely matter; nor do particular belief systems (or lack thereof).
Same for color-- no, not *skin* color, but the colorfulness of the
speaker's *personality*.  (Given a choice between two equally ar-
ticulate talkers, I'll take the profane and outspoken every time!)
Regrettably, "good talk" isn't guaranteed in Raleigh, N.C.  Lame
local programming is favored during "afternoon drive" and too many
stations fill too many evenings with insipid "sports talk."  (Or,
worse, the play-by-plays of all those blankety-blank college sports
game.  Groan.)  And, alas, longer-distant stations-- like WBZ in
Charlotte, which *plays* talk in the evening-- are often difficult
or outright impossible to receive.

So, for those Raleigh residents new or not-so-new to talk radio,
here's an overview of "what's what."  These are the various shows
that *I* either listen to or occasionally sample.  Needless to say,
the following list omits *sports* shows.  Nor are *local* programs
included.  WUNC aside, the locally produced dreck is just that.

List o' Shows

Jim Bohannon
WDNC, 620 AM � Weeknights, 10:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. *
WPTF, 680 AM - Saturdays, 6:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. *

Late-night call-taker slash interviewer and seemingly non-partisan
fat-chewer.  He'll talk on about anything, though current and po-
litically related events tend to top the list.  And he's a relent-
less devil's advocate, never afraid to jump on the errant, incon-
sistent detail.


Neal Boortz
WPTF, 680 AM � Weekdays, 8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Libertarian troublemaker who rants, laughs, and/or scratches head
at All Things Nonsensical, which, to him, includes "government
schools," welfare states, and just about anything involving federal
participation.  And he's racy, too!  With frequent on-air partici-
pation from "Belinda" and "Royal," the call-screener and engineer,


Dr. Joy Browne
WDNC, 620 AM � Weekdays, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. and Saturday, 6-9 p.m.

Relationship advice of a gentler, kinder kind.  Think the Anti-Dr.
Laura, with patience out the wazoo and, alas, which regrettably
translates into a sympathetic base-covering that lets callers hang
on the line *way* too long.  Neat that she also reviews movies.


Click and Clack
WUNC, 91.5 FM � Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
                Sundays, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Car Talk.  'Nuff said.


The Dolans
WDNC, 620 AM - Weekends, various

Personal finance advice (and occasional travel tips) from the up-
beat, outgoing, longtime husband and wife team Ken and Daria Dolan.


Dr. Dean Edell
WPTF, 680 AM � Weekdays, 11:00-12:00 p.m.

Medical news and caller Q's, plus ample editorializing from "Amer-
ica's doctor," usually about drug law hypocrisy, "health foods,"
and anything masquerading as science.  Carl Sagan would've liked
listening to him.


Mike Gallagher

WPTF, 680 AM - Weekends, 3:00-6:00 p.m.

Long Island loudmouth whose obvious, repetitive attempts at irate-
inducing amuse approximately 5.25 percent of the time.


Clark Howard

WPTF, 680 AM � Weekdays, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. *
Consumer advice from the world's greatest spendthrift.  e.g. buying
tips, pricing tips, trends in goods 'n' services, and what to do
when customer service is customer "no service."  He's even anima-
ted, these days, and far less of the monotone he used to be!


Don Imus
WRBZ, 850 AM � Weekdays, 6:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Cranky morning host whose a couple hundred years old, runs (and, in
the summer, broadcasts from) a Southwestern-style ranch for kids
with cancer, and is one helluva keen interviewer who occasionally
slaps (or outright blasts) his political pundit guests, the show's
news- and sportscasters, or any of the frequently appearing blues,
country, or comic talent.  Includes commentary, too, from "Richard
Nixon," "Walter Cronkite," "General George S. Patton," and others.


Dr. Laura
WPTF, 680 AM � Weekdays, 9:00-12:00 p.m.

Moral gas bag and former sadistic must-listen, for her unforgetta-
ble style of "get to the point"-ness.  Of course, that was back
*before* the nude photos (of her), the ALA rampage (by her), and
her GLAAD-protested, since-cancelled television show.  Those were
glorious, on-air train wrecks; now she's tamer, saner, and 100% old


G. Gordon Liddy
WDNC, 620 AM � Weekdays, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

See above essay


The Motley Fools
WPTF, 680 AM - Saturday, 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Financial advice from authors, syndicated columnists, and big-honk-
in' Web site operators (or at least *owners*) David and Tom Gard-
ner.  They know their stuff, but try *way* too hard to be funny.


A Prairie Home Companion
WUNC, 91.5 � Weekends for a couple hours

Garrison Keillor and Company, the guy who sounds like he has a head
cold.  Or needs nasal surgery.


Rush Limbaugh
WPTF, 680 AM � Weekdays, 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.*

Political gas-bag and staunch Republican whose rants repeat them-
selves ad nauseum.  Sure, he can be interesting and sometimes even
thought-provoking.  Better, though, are his trademark, politically
incorrect eruptions that gleefully slam some ideological opponent
or special-interest group.  *Those* are amusing.


Joan Rivers
WDNC, 620 AM - Weekdays, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Celebrity host even scarier than Dr. Laura.


Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me
WUNC, 91.5 FM - Saturdays, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Comic game show testing callers and "celebrity" guests on current
events.  Winners win the voice of announcer Carl Kasell on their
answering machine.  Now *that's* a prize.


Whad'Ya Know?
WUNC 91.5 - Saturdays, 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Comic game show starring Wisconsin wiseacre and deadpan extraordi-
naire Michael Feldman as he quizzes listeners about anything and
everything.  Plus, if memory serves, the occasional comic monologue
and/or musical interlude.


Bruce Williams
WDNC, 620 AM � Weeknights, 8:00p.m - 10:00 p.m. and other wee hours

Deep-voiced, long-experienced small business and personal finance
advisor.  Though often preempted by ball games, grrrr, he's worth
seeking out as a straight-talking (but sympathetic) presence with a
world of useful knowledge.  And, on a rare moment, the impatient
berating of a caller.  Hey, he's human.


Weekend Edition, Morning Edition, All Things Considered,
  and all those other NPR news shows
WUNC, 91.5 FM - weekdays and weekends, various times

Great when it's great; dull as piss when it ain't.  Specially, when
covering or discussing something that you couldn't care less about.
Like jazz music or Arab-Israeli minutiae.

* with wee hour repeats


  o http://www.boortz.com/
  o http://www.brucewilliams.com/
  o http://cartalk.cars.com/
  o http://www.clarkhoward.com/
  o http://www.drjoy.com/
  o http://www.drlaura.com/
  o http://www.fool.com/
  o http://www.ggordonliddy.com/
  o http://www.healthcentral.com
  o http://www.imus.msnbc.com
  o http://www.jimbohannon.com/
  o http://www.mikeonline.com/
  o http://phc.mpr.org/
  o http://www.npr.org
  o http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/


From the Simpsons Archive, http://www.snpp.com/, quoting episode
BABF01, "Treehouse of Horror" number ten:

    Homer:  All that counts is that we're alive and rubbing
            elbows with the greats.  [gasps]  Ooh, there's
            Ross Perot, Dr. Laura, Spike Lee.

    Bart:   Wait a minute, they're not so great.

    Homer:  Okay but there's Dan Quayle, Courtney Love, [in-
            creasing panic], Tonya Harding, Al Sharpton.  Ah!
            Tom Arnold!  What the hell's going on?

    Bart:   [looking out porthole]  Wait!  Only *that* ship's
            going to Mars.  Ours is headed for the sun!

Movie Review

CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION, THE, is Woody Allen's new movie, anoth-
er madcap comedy ala last year's SMALL TIME CROOKS (and any number
of earlier Allen films), and the latest in a string of increasingly
questionable (if obviously indulgent) screen pairings pairing the
sixty-five year-old filmmaker with women twenty and thirty years
his junior.  (At least CROOKS balanced the considerably younger
Tracey Ullman with actress-screenwriter Elaine May, whose a couple
years *older* than Woody!)  This time around-- his 34th film, if my
math is correct-- the nebbish leach appears opposite Helen Hunt and
babe-o-licious Charlize Theron.  Also appearing is Elizabeth Berk-
ley, remember her?, adding some spunk and bringing long-forgotten
(blocked out?) memories of Paul Verhoven's SHOWGIRLS, bless her

The year is 1940 and Allen's a veteran insurance investigator-- in
New York, of course-- whose butting heads with Hunt's newly hired
and instantly threatening "efficiency expert."  (His is a gumshoe
*far* more comfortable with women of fewer words and more-easily
patted bottoms.)  Enter a stage magician (David Ogden Stiers) whose
staff-party parlor trick introduces that age-old comic device of...
hypnotism.  I know, potential yawn.  And with one word, "Constan-
tinople," the soft-boiled 'shoe slips into trances where he's or-
dered to steal jewels from his firm's clients and, of course, ends
up investigating himself.

Hilarity ensues, though more verbal than visual.  Allen's "screw-
ball"-era script is resplendent with rat-a-tat-tat repartee; bick-
ering banter both instantly familiar (at least to old-movie watch-
ers) and predictable funny.  (Allen's insults are hurled both back
and forth between Hunt's character and at a pair of rival investi-
gators later assigned to the case.)  There are some awfully good
one-lines, scattered about as well.  And, one, great, slight bit of
*physical* shtick when Allen's interoffice rummaging is startled to
hilarious, paper-tossing effect.

The diverse cast includes Wallace "Inconceivable" Shawn, the afore-
mentioned Ms. Theron as a Veronica Lake-like saucy society gal, and
a Fred MacMurray-looking Dan Aykroyd as Hunt's character's boss
slash married boyfriend.  And, speaking of Elwood Blues, he looks
as big as a *house*, here, when showing embracing-- or, eek!, kiss-
ing-- the actress.  (At least Chubb doesn't look like her *grandfa-
ther*, as certain someone sometimes does.)  Eh, it's a misfire, al-
beit a comfortable (and overlong) one.  And as the summer notices
have shown, you could do far, *far* worse...  Postscript:  if mem-
ory serves, the thumping, big-band music accompanying the "trance
sequences" was last heard in Allen's divine "Oedipus Wrecks" seg-
ment of NEW YORK STORIES.  And, the final scene's as sweet as any-
thing you'll this *or* next year.  Delightful.  (Rated "PG-13"/~100

Grade: C+

Heavy-Metal Parking Lot

Notorious, made-for-cable-access, documentary short shot outside a
Judas Priest concert in Largo, Maryland in 1986, during the Brit
band's "Turbo" tour (the author attended in Charlotte that year),
and featuring colorful, low-fi interviews with the many mullet-top-
ped, beer-swilling, air-guitar-and-or-fist-pumping, teen and twen-
tysomething attendees.  (Most are male and inexplicably shirtless.)
Filmmakers John Heyn and Jeff Krulik wander the asphalt, letting
the (video) camera roll while asking no-brainer, guaranteed-a-good-
reaction questions like "whose your favorite band?"  Or the quin-
tessentially redundant "are you drinking tonight?"  With but one
microphone and bit o' Priest on the horribly dubbed soundtrack, the
amateur results are a stunning, scary snapshot of "eighties metal"
lingo, lifestyle, and "f*** yeah, man" attitude.  Lip syncing has
never seemed so frightening...  The vid is available on the "World
Wide Waste of Time" and includes promos for the unfinished "Neil
Diamond Parking Lot" and "Monster Truck Parking Lot."  (The latter
concluding with a backwoods-looking family asked if they've ever
seen "Deliverance.")  There's also a couple minutes of the *film-
makers,* as they're fixing the original master tapes.  (And, as we
learn, were originally shot on *used* video tape.)  Finally, the
set concludes with a series of clips from MTV and other news chan-
nels, which began reporting on short film's underground popularity
in the late 1990's.  Dude, it's funny.

Raleigh Fire Department Errata

For those playing along at home, Station #24 opened over the week-
end.  Dedication of the newly constructed facility, located off
Brier Creek Parkway, south of Lumley Road, west of the airport, is
scheduled for September.  The city's other new fire station, Sta-
tion #25 in Wakefield, in North, *North* Raleigh, opened a couple
weeks ago.  Both are staffed by a single engine company.  "Twenty-
five" also houses a pair of antiques, including a formerly horse-
drawn (and presently trailer-mounted) "steamer."  Street addresses,
station photos, and even a city wide station slash unit map (drawn
by Yours Truly!) is available at http://www.legeros.com/ralwake.
Next up:  Stations #26 and #27, on Barwell and Buffalo Roads, in

Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros



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