The Vasthead Masthead

Houston Retro Radio

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Below is a favorite British band that most Americans never heard of. This song made no. 20 in the USA in 1984, and it was their biggest hit here. A mature band already in their 30's, this song became an "instant classic." Classic rock KNUZ played it while it was still new.

Here is the other Slade single from 1984. I heard this song on KRBE while driving home late at night sometime that spring. I never heard it on that station again. It barely touched the top 40 chart. I still have "My oh My" and "Run Run Away" on imported 12", 45rpm singles.

Below: A-ha, "Take On Me," Live in Oslo, Norway, 2009

"Take on Me" was a hit in the autumn of 1985. It was the only Norwegian song to ever make #1 in the United States. The girls screaming in this live recording look like they could not have been born yet when this song came out.

A-ha has become a national institution in Norway. My understanding is that they are currently on a final farewell tour.

At one point, it looked like I would sleep through the 80's as far as music was concerned, but a change of circumstances caused me to pay more attention.

If you went to school with me and have listened to nothing but country since 1975, you have missed a lot of material.

I do think that the 80's was the last decade to offer much of interest on the top 40. The top 40 now is mostly deplorable. It is dominated by rap, and that means no music at all.

July 20, 2010



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Web Master's essays

This page is an archive of essays that originally appeared on the Radio Home Page.

July 1, 2010

"Let them rap together on all the problems of the world."

KXYZ-FM, American FM newscast, July 4, 1970

Is anybody here old enough to remember Red Skelton? Listen to what he had to say on July 4, 1970.

I recorded this myself off of KXYZ-FM (Later called KAUM).

Skelton's remarks were part of an ABC radio newscast. ABC had split into four networks, and their FM service was aimed at a younger audience.

Notice how the word "rap" is used. The connotation was a little different back then. A PSA tells about a plan to have young people from all over the world get together to "rap."

That didn't mean that they were going to do a rap talk version of "We Are the World."

To fund the project, the message tells listeners to wrap $2 in an envelope and mail it to "World Rap" in New York. Hopefully, no dishonest person with the Post Office heard about those envelopes. Two dollars back then was worth more than $10 today.

This recording is 40 years old this weekend.

KXYZ-FM, American FM newscast, July 4, 1970

Entire KXYZ-FM recording for July 4, 1970

The second link above is the entire 64 minute recording, not just the newscast.

The politics of the local Fourth of July broadcast contrasts dramatically with the conservative perspective of Red Skelton.  Bear in mind that it was a very divisive time, only a few weeks after the Kent State killings.

Skelton's July 4th discussion of the Pledge of Allegiance was a re-creation of a a monologue from his TV show. The audio became a top 40 single, and Burger King gave away a paper pressing of the recording.

Grady McAllister, M.S. (Occupational Technology)

Enjoy the silence

This is a slightly rewritten version of an essay on my web site.

It's amazing how a casual remark can sometimes echo through the decades.

In 1981, a now forgotten Houston program director said to to me: "Every year, something else takes another piece out of radio." That was well before the World Wide Web, iPods, and cell phone rants in supermarkets.

That was even before CD's. The speaker was thinking of things like CB radio, eight track tapes, Walkman cassette players, and the early video games.

VHS and Beta video tapes were still emerging.

On August 1 of that same year, a thing called MTV pounced upon the scene. It's first song? Video Killed the Radio Star.

That assault against local radio has continued with time. The programming for Galveston's KGBC comes out of China.

I admit in several places on this site that I haven't been a heavy radio listener since the early 80's. This is due to both the quality of the material filling the airwaves and the availability of other better audio choices.

Even before I had a big collection of educational audio, there were plenty of times when I preferred to leave the radio off and enjoy the silence. I just wasn't reacting to radio as I had in my youth.

Even teenagers are finding radio irrelevant. They prefer the ubiquitous smart phone (a demonic device if there ever was one) as the universal disrupter of everything from safe driving to the classroom.

With radio continuing to fade in 2010, Richard Sands in Australia brought a recent development to my attention. It seems that AFRTS (the American Forces Radio and Television Service) was gradually abandoning its local overseas media in favor of the internet:

How The Internet Killed The Military Media Empire

My only personal exposure to AFRTS has been their international short wave broadcasts. I expect that after everyone has taken their last shot at radio, and after most of the local wavelengths have gone silent, short wave will be the last signals standing.

Grady McAllister

July 2, 2010

Image Below:The Moon in June

Doris Day: By the Light of the Silvery Moon

I recently saw the movie By the Light of the Silvery Moon for the first time, along with On Moonlight Bay, another Doris Day movie from nearly 50 years ago.

With lyrics by Edward Madden (1878-1952), the two songs on which the movies were based are now about 100 years old.

If you buy or rent On Moonlight Bay, the DVD includes an interesting film clip from the 50's. It explains how Madden wrote By the Light of the Silvery Moon while working undercover for police in sleazy New York bars. It seems that his moon songs began as an escape from the dismal surroundings of his work.

How did I get off on this subject? I heard the Beatles TV version of On Moonlight Bay on the Anthology 1 album and became curious about the age and origin of the song. It is one of those songs I remember hearing in the old cartoons.

Above: Galveston 1900 Storm Memorial. Moonrise, June 26, 2010. Photo by Grady McAllister.

February 20, 2011.

Last night, I was listening to the Moody Blues' Threshold of a Dream album for the first time in years. They were mp3 files from a CD that I bought over a decade ago.

I went to and saw they had digitally remastered mp3 files. I was tempted to buy, but I was turned off by a notice stating that the files would be encoded with data which would permanently connect the files with me, right down to the exact time of the purchase. 

I didn't like the idea of being sued for what some thief might do with my music after stealing my hard drive.

I decided that my old Moody Blues files were good enough. I dispensed with the idea of gradually repurchasing them.

The irony is that — since 1969 — the following dialog has been heard at the beginning of Threshold of a Dream:

First Man: I think. I think I am. Therefore I am. I think.

Establishment: Of course you are my bright little star, I've miles and miles of files, pretty files of your forefather's fruit. and now to suit our great computer: You're magnetic ink.

First Man: I'm more than that. I know I am. At least, I think I must be.

Inner Man: There you go, man. Keep as cool as you can. Face piles and piles of trials with smiles. It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave and keep on thinking free.

Yes, people feared the impersonal computer even more in 1969.

The Amazon text ominously added that they would also include "an identifier that can be used to determine whether the audio has been modified."

I modify my digital audio files all the time for a number of reasons. What sinister purpose is implied here? What would they care, for example, if I raise or lower the audio on my own mp3 files?

A couple of years ago, I bought some downloads from the Naxos web site in the U.K. Naxos sells mainly classical music and spoken word audio.

The audio levels were too low. I tried to normalize them to 100% . This added a very noticeable distortion. The simple audio boost added what sounded like a cricket chirping.

I haven't bought a download from Naxos since then.

You have to admire these computer geeks for the clever barriers they erect to help discourage sales.

January 7, 2011

"Winding your way down on Baker Street
Light in your head and dead on your feet
Well another crazy day
You drink the night away
And forget about everything..."

Full lyrics to "Baker Street" on The Vasthead

CNN: Gerry Rafferty dead at 63

The Gerry Rafferty album "City to City" always reminds me not of a big city but of the time I spent working in radio in Bay City, Texas. In 1978, the song "Baker Street" was pervasive. and it strongly hinted at Rafferty's involvement with alcohol.

I still have a vinyl copy of that album. It has one of those album covers that I have thought about getting framed. I have only kept about a hundred odd records. Most of them play fine, but the covers look shabby from decades of being on an open shelf. For some reason my "City to City" record looks just like it did in 1978. It's in mint condition. Would you believe it even smells new? It sounds even better.

It evokes the time when rock and roll was being decimated by disco. In fact, "Baker Street" was often played right alongside disco, rather like a rose in a garden of weeds.

After reviving "Baker Street" for a couple of days, I have come to the conclusion that it is one of the most memorable rock and roll songs ever written.

You get a real sense that the singer is on the move in the city, and you are right there with him. Every phrase seems worth quoting.

One classic line from "Baker Street" is the vow to "give up the booze and the one night stands." As the CNN story indicates, Gerry Rafferty never gave up the booze.

Grady McAllister

CNN: Singer Gerry Rafferty dead at 63

Full lyrics to "Baker Street" on The Vasthead

Foo Fighters cover of "Baker Street"

October 1, 2010

"The magician, he sparkles
in satin and velvet
You gaze at his splendour
with eyes you've not used yet"

—Donovan Leitch, "Sunny Goodge Street"

Below is a West Coast classic that few Americans have ever heard. It's a commercial cover of a relatively obscure Donovan song. He wrote the song, and Canadian Tom Northcott did the closest thing to a hit version.

It was a mainly a local hit for the Vancouver area (although one of my sources states that he heard it on a Real Don Steele aircheck off of KHJ, Los Angeles).

The only reason I know this recording is because it was on a $2, two-disc promotional album from Warner Bros/Reprise.

This is the definitive recording of this particular Donovan song. It is a marvelous piece of production, and someone has created a slide show to catapult your psyche into the Vancouver psychedelic era.

Notice that the original Donovan phrase "violent hash smoker shook a chocolate machine" is toned down to "fearless believer shook a chocolate machine."

Like other Donovan material, this borders on being a children's song, and this version is safe to play around the kids.

Grady McAllister

Donovan Radio - Music in the folk rock tradition

An Unpaid Referral

If you have thought about studying photography, here is just what you need. I have been looking at photo instruction materials for decades, and I am not beyond reviewing the basics and learning new techniques.

I don't know why, but it seems like the best photo learning materials come from England. The Karl Taylor course is a perfect example:

Karl Taylor - Free Photography Course

You will be amazed by the level of enthusiasm and aplomb that Taylor brings to his subject.

You can buy some of the videos from American Photo & Popular Photography magazines, shipped every couple of months. My introductory DVD was only $12.95, but I don't yet know what the price will be for later shipments.

You can also buy DVD's directly from Karl Taylor.

April 12, 2010

"Stay Alive!"

Stuart Adamson
(April 11, 1958 – December 16, 2OO1)

Stuart Adamson was lead singer for Big Country, and the words "Stay Alive!" appear  in their 1983 hit, In a Big Country. Unfortunately, Adamson did not heed his own advice.

A Scotsman who had moved to Nashville, he went on a drinking binge lasting for several weeks. He was eventually found hanging around a hotel room in Honolulu.

As you may recall, Michael Hutchence of INXS suffered a similar fate. Do enough booze or drugs and any hotel room becomes Room 1408.

Account of Adamson's death

In a Big Country music and lyrics

More Big Country on You Tube:

The Teacher

Big Country with Kate Bush:

The Seer

Each video opens in a new window.

This will allow you to continue browsing this page as the music plays.

The second two songs are on the 1986 album, The Seer, the first album I ever bought in the CD format. I didn't actually own a CD player until a year later.

I wasn't quite the New Wave Generation: Stuart Adamson was only one day short of being exactly ten years younger than me. The music of Big Country had grabbed my attention because it harked back to the folk rock music of an earlier era.

Grady McAllister

April 11, 2010

A Few Words about Katyn

This was written right after the crash of a plane carrying the president of Poland and other Polish officials to the site of a World War II massacre.

It is ironic that so many Polish officials and military officers died on their way to the site of the Katyn massacre.

At the Katyn forest, the Soviets executed about 20.000 Polish officers and intelligentsia early in World War II.

The Germans learned about the massacre after they invaded the Soviet Union. They made full use of its propaganda value and publicized the discovery using international observers. When the Soviets took back the territory, they blamed the massacre on the Germans.

Here are some old documentary films on the subject:

Katyn Massacre 1

Katyn Massacre 2

Here is a recent dramatic film:

Katyn (2007)

If you have a Netflix account, you can watch the film immediately on your computer.

Or you can watch it on You Tube

The documentaries will help you understand the movie. People who are not familiar with Katyn tend to get confused as to which army they are watching and the motivations of different groups.

The movie covers both the massacre itself and the Soviet cover up.

March 14, 2010

My Last Rolls of Kodachrome


Note: Since I posted the essay below, I have put my last two rolls of Kodachrome slides at this link:

Kodachromes on Facebook

Avast, Vastheads! Stop and consider this...

Have you ever done something knowing that it would be the last time you performed that particular action?

For example, in 2002, I printed my last color photo using traditional darkroom equipment.

I had learned to make Cibachrome prints from slides in 1983, but it had never become a regular thing with me. Making even one really good print could involve hours of trial and error in a makeshift darkroom and dealing with some really noxious chemicals.

Those chemical were not cheap and had a short shelf life.

It was almost as if you had to devote all of your spare time for several days to be sure you used up the chemicals.

Also, the process itself tended to require big blocks of time and undivided attention. With a home darkroom, it seems to take four hours of isolation from the world just to get going.

In contrast, if you are dealing with a digital image, you can mess around with it on a computer for ten minutes, set it aside, and come back to it six months later. You can even experiment with it while you are talking on the phone, and the person on the other end won't know anything about it.

By 2002, I realized that Cibachrome printing was never going to be a major activity for me. In nineteen years, I had only had five or six occasions when I had done any color printing.

By 2002, I was ready to use up my last chemicals and papers. Once I had used them up, I would be out of the color darkroom business forever.

I knew the papers were good because I had kept them frozen since 1986 (!). The chemicals were out of date, but I would use them up anyway.

My last Cibachrome print

I knew that I was making a Cibachrome print for the last time because I had made a conscious decision to make it the last time. It was just a minor way of simplifying my life and having fewer things to keep up with.

Often, however, change is imposed on us from the outside. I didn't have anything to do with the decision to replace record albums with CD's or to have digital cameras take over photography.

Tonight, I shot my last roll of Kodachrome slide film, knowing that it would be my last roll ever. Unlike the Cibachrome print papers, the Kodachrome slides were not something I wanted to eliminate.

I have shot Kodachrome since I was 16 years old. Kodachrome was invented by two classical musicians, and Kodak sold it from 1935 to 2009. It will go down as one of the major casualties of digital photography.

I shot my last roll at the Galveston Strand. Possibly because of spring break, there were lots of young people running around, especially small groups of teenage girls. But that was not what I was there to photograph.

I took every shot on a tripod, using slow shutter speeds. I was photographing the buildings, and there is probably not a recognizable human figure on any of the slides. People tend to move and become blurred during time exposures.

Sometimes you think you are doing something for the last time, and it turns out it wasn't really the last time. One time in the mid 90's, I was opening up a still sealed phonograph record thinking it would be the last ever.

It wasn't. I have bought a new record release as recently as 2006.

And as recently as last month, I opened a still sealed LP from the 60's that I bought on eBay.

The trick here is to still own a turntable. I now have a prerelease order for a new phonograph record by Goldfrapp, the 43 year old siren of song. 

Even "young" artists recognize the promotional value of vinyl. If you don't have a turntable, you can always tack it on the wall and call it a poster.

CD's are on the way out, and there is none of the sentimental attachment that we still connect to records.

Just as with CD's, I have no emotional attachment to the camera's in my past. Last year, I got my first new camera since 1996, a Pentax K2000 digital SLR. It is a breeze to operate.They seem to have thought of everything. Up until now, attempts at automation just seemed to get in the way. They finally seem to have got it right.

So, what's missing in digital photography? The film is what is missing. They have taken my Kodachromes away.

By the way, no discussion of Kodachrome would be complete without the Paul Simon song of that name.

Off site link: Lyrics to Kodachrome

Time magazine: A Brief History of Kodachrome

Wired on Kodachrome

Again, here is the link to my last batch of Kodachromes:

Kodachromes on Facebook

Video for Goldfrapp song which I bought on 12 inch vinyl in 2006

More Goldfrapp videos:

Oh la la / Strict Machine /

Each video opens in a new window. This will allow you to continue browsing this page while the music plays.

Below: The Galveston Strand Historical District, March 13, 2010. This was on my last roll of Kodachrome 64 slide film.

The Galveston Strand Historical District, March 13, 2010

Jerry Gillies Lost and Found

By Grady McAllister

December 12, 2009

"You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need."

— Jerry Gillies

Jerry Gillies is a former radio announcer whom you will get to know better. (See the Moneylove blog in the right right column.)

A former financial correspondent for NBC, Jerry Gillies has been known for decades as a broadcaster, author, and speaker.

Now, he is also known as a felon.

Since 1987, I have had his audio program, Moneylove. The material is really about much more than money. It goes into other important areas such as developing creativity and developing quality relationships.

Partly because of Gillies' smooth radio voice, partly because of the material itself, I have listened to Moneylove more than any other spoken word recordings.

For me, that is saying a lot. I have everything from the plays of Shakespeare to the poems of Dylan Thomas to the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald to business oriented recordings of every kind. I am nothing if not rich in talking audio.

I have only just now discovered Jerry Gillies on the internet. Here are his two web sites:

Jerry Gillies Blog

MoneyLove Blog

For years, I did an internet search for Gillies from time to time. I found nothing but an occasional collection of quotes put up by someone else. He seemed to be completely removed from the age of the internet. There was nothing about him on Wikipedia.

Just a few days ago I was wondering if he was even alive.

Now I know why he didn't have a web page sooner: They don't let you use the internet in prison.

The author who knew such motivational giants as Wayne Dyer and Leo Buscaglia was in California's prison system for twelve years and left Folsom in 2008.

That's right, the same Folsom Prison where Johnny Cash recorded the most famous live music performance ever made.

When I was first looking over his web site, I saw Gillies state that he had been in prison, I thought he was just kidding. He must have really meant that he had been figuratively hiding under a rock. But it's no joke.

Check out these early entries on the Gillies blog:

Where in the world is Jerry Gillies?

Jerry Gillies is broker than you right now

Gillies hasn't quit writing motivational materials. His story is included in one of the books in the best selling "Chicken Soup" series:

Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul

Apparently, he was convicted in a financial situation that went awry, and, then, greatly lengthened his sentence by trying to escape in a stolen motor home. This out of character behavior may have been brought about by a weight loss and energy drug.

Perhaps, like G. Gordon Liddy, he can turn his prison experience into a kind of asset.

None of this need keep you from enjoying Gillies books and audio. The only way to find them is on the resale market. Jerry gets nothing in royalties at this point.

Hopefully, both the book Moneylove and its audio equivalent will be re released at some point. It would be great if the audio material could be remastered directly to mp3.

Because of the way it is written, my audio version of Moneylove doesn't seem dated after 22 years. Many of us would buy it again if it was released in digital form.

My understanding is that the fair use provision of the copyright law is especially lenient when you reproduce material which is out of print. Here are some brief excerpts from the Nightingale-Conant audio version of Moneylove:

01-1 Having fun getting

02-1 A crowd of positive voices

02-2 Does money grow on trees?

06-1 The Joyful and Triumphant Fund

08-1 Technical difficulties in Birmingham, Alabama

12-1 Dying like a dog in the gutter!

12-2 A moratorium on the news

(Regarding the dubious effect of the news, also see the Ray Bradbury quote on the radio home page.)

The first two digits for each item refer to the cassette tape sides.

By the way, this web site has an affiliation agreement with Nightingale-Conant. Although they no longer sell any program by Jerry Gillies, they offer many other valuable productions on CD and mp3. Click on any Nightingale-Conant ad on this site, and we will receive a generous commission for anything you purchase.

Jerry Gillies on Twitter

Jerry Gillies' 110 Questions for the new decade(PDF)

December 5, 2009

A few words about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart...

By Grady McAllister

You Tube video: Rock Me Amadeus by Falco, a 1986 dance mix.

You Tube video:Live version of Rock Me Amadeus with voice over narration

You Tube video:Visuals from the movie Amadeus mixed with the song Rock Me Amadeus

"Already I have the taste of death on my tongue"

— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on the night of December 4, 1791

Today is the anniversary of the death of Mozart. He died shortly after midnight, December 5, 1791. He was 35.

Article describing Mozart's last night

I can remember the night I first started really appreciating Mozart. It was Thursday, November 28, 1991. After Thanksgiving dinner, I found myself in a odd mood.

Apparently on sheer impulse, I got in my car and drove to Dickinson and back for no particular reason. That is not the sort of thing I normally do.

You might compare my sudden sojourn to the "Flight of Two Owls" chapter in Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables. Although I was unfamiliar with the book in 1991, that part of the novel describes an elderly brother and sister who take an unplanned train ride to nowhere in particular.

I know that chapter well because it has the quote which inspired the name of this web site, The Vasthead.

I did not listen to Mozart during my trek to Dickinson. I listened to some modern traveling music that seemed to go with my sudden flight to suburbia.

The song was "Suburbia (The Full Horror)," a long dance mix by the Pet Shop Boys from 1986.

Below: Audio for Suburbia (The Full Horror). It is followed by two live versions. Listen for the large, barking dog.

Below: Cologne, Germany, 2009

On this web site: Lyrics to Suburbia (The Full Horror)

That song does indeed bring to mind the words of Joseph Conrad (repeated in the movie Apocalypse Now): "The horror! The horror!"

I listened to the song several times as I drove into the suburban night, turned the car around, and returned home.

When back in Houston, I was in the mood for a little less horror.

I found myself having an another unexpected urge.This time, it was an urge to watch the movie Amadeus, a fictionalized version of the life of Mozart.

The tape had been sitting on a shelf for five years, but I had never seen it. Suddenly, watching it seemed like the only thing I could think about doing.

That movie got me interested in Mozart's life and music. I read a booklet that had come with my slightly used set of Mozart records.

As I learned more about Mozart, I was surprised by what seemed like a starling coincidence: The following week was the 200th anniversary of Mozart's death.

It seemed as if something mysterious had drawn me to take an interest in Mozart at that exact time.

After that, I watched the Amadeus film each Thanksgiving for several years, and I still make it a point to hear some Mozart between Thanksgiving and New Years.

How do you explain that sudden urge to think about Mozart?

Was it a close encounter of the metaphysical kind?

There may be a more down to earth explanation. At the time, I was already familiar with the song "Rock Me Amadeus" by the Austrian singer Falco (1957-1998).

The American album version has a voice over narration which goes like this:
1756, Salzburg, January 27, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is born

1761, at the age of five Amadeus begins composing

1773, he writes his first piano concerto

1782, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart marries Constance Weber

1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart becomes a free mason

1791, Mozart composes "The Magic Flute"

On December 5th of that same year, Mozart dies

1985, Austrian rock singer Falco records
Rock Me Amadeus!

So, as this lyric indicates, both the date and year of Mozart's death had to already be somewhere in my mind. I had heard the song numerous times.

All I am sure of is that something catapulted my interest in Mozart at just the right time.

Wikipedia article on Mozart

Post Script

While completing this essay, I learned about the death of business philosopher Jim Rohn, who died on December 5, the same day of the year as Mozart.

I really thought Rohn would be around longer. His father, an Idaho farm country type, lived to be about 100.

With the permission of the Jim Rohn organization, I have created a new page to highlight Rohn's key ideas:

Quotes from Jim Rohn (1930-2OO9)

He certainly knew how to turn a phrase in an unexpected direction.

Jim RohnRohn might be called a motivational speaker, quite possibly the best of all time. He has influenced such younger icons as Tony Robbins, the tough talking Larry Winget, and many more.

To learn about recordings by Rohn, Robbins, and Winget and other popular speakers, click on any Nightingale-Conant ad on this web site. If you buy anything, the money will help support the continuation of these radio pages.

Clicking on the Jim Rohn image above will take you directly to the Rohn materials sold by Nightingale-Conant.

I leave you with a few words from Jim Rohn. They are words worth thinking about for the new decade:

The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.

Jim Rohn tribute page

October 8, 2009

With Roman Polanski back in the news, check out his film version of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. The movie was made after he fled to Europe, and it is a clear case of art imitating life. See German actress Nastassia Kinski take on the accent of southwest England. When Polanski was arrested, I moved Tess to the top of my Netflix queue list.

I have my own copy of another Kinski movie, Paris, Texas. It shows her attempting the accent of southeast Texas and working in a Houston sexually oriented business. I don't know why the film is rated R since all she does is talk into a one way mirror, and the language is less raucous than many PG movies.

I am glad I bought the DVD since it has already gone out of print again. If you can find a copy, Paris, Texas, is well worth your time.
May 22, 2009

To geek or not to geek? This is a question?

Check this out on the web site of former KLOL DJ the Dayna Steele:

Twittered Out of a Job

Dayna Steele is now a media consultant, public speaker, all purpose motivator, and digital social media guru.

The blog and video are about a middle aged man on "Desperate Housewives" who loses out in a job interview because he doesn't know about Twitter.

For the record, let me state that I was an early internet user, and I have had a web site since 1997. I have spent a lot of time developing my site.

However, I have not yet found time to watch "Desperate Housewives," and I never heard of Twitter until a few months ago. I just happened to be watching Charlie Rose on PBS when he interviewed one of the young Twitter founders.

It just didn't seem like I needed new ways to twitter away time.  I do, however, have an active Facebook account, another service Steele recommends.

It is the nature of technology that you can get good in one area, such as creating a web site that looks good, and still be a dummy in another technology area.

For example, I am not a big fan of cell phones in public. There seems to be something not quite right about holding a high frequency transmitter next to your brain. My cell phone is just for emergencies. I have a $100 a year account. The unit is normally turned off all the time, and I don't know how to check the voice mail.

If you want to call me, you had better have my real number.

Naturally, I would change my habits if I had a good reason to do so.

The choice is not between either ignoring all new technology or jumping on every bandwagon the day it rattles into town. Anybody who tells you have to embrace every media technology from Day One is trying to sell you something.

Nobody has that kind of time.

I would rather just pick and choose the media most likely to be of help at any given time.

For example, I was one of the first people in Houston to own a portable audio cassette unit. I didn't blow $90 on that Philips Mercury recorder so I could be a bigger geek than some other 18 year old.

I bought it because it allowed me to do what I wanted to do at the time: to listen to music of my choice wherever and whenever I wanted and to be able to record live interviews on location.

By 1970, I had a cassette portable which allowed me to record in stereo when I did interviews for a KILT program on psychedelic drugs.

Later, I was an early adherent of audio learning both at home and in the car.

I was just re-listening to a 1997 audio book, Job Search Kit For Dummies by Joyce Lain Kennedy. It is if fairly informative and sophisticated as such materials go. But 1997 could not fully predict the world of 2009.

Kennedy made much of encouraging the listener to get with the new technology of that time. Yet, the media she extolled now sound like a junk yard roll call of Digital Darling Disappointments: Infoseek, Netscape, Prodigy, Altavista, America Online, and CD-ROM databases.

And so it goes...

Grady McAllister

Note: Since posting the above item, I have opened a Twitter account and made greater use of my Facebook account.

October 10, 2008

Below: The Hut Club in Galveston after Hurricane Alicia, 1983. The picture shows how thoroughly the surging waters had gutted the first floor.

I had taken quite a few pictures there during the previous two years. I had been drawn to the effect of the late afternoon sun shining between the slats on the west wall.

The downstairs featured live rock bands and a continuous sea breeze.

The Hut Club attracted all kinds of people because it was the first thing you saw where Interstate 45 (Broadway) ends at Seawall Boulevard. Now, the most prominent edifice at that location is a McDonalds.

Front of Hut Club after Hurricane Alicia. Photo by Grady McAllister.

Below: A 1982 example of the unusual late afternoon sunlight inside the Hut Club. Also note the Ocean Pacific blouse and oversized necktie.

Girl in Ocean Pacific blouse. Photo by Grady McAllister.

Below: Sign near Stewart Beach in Galveston after Hurricane Alicia, 1983

Looters will be shot warning, 1983. Photo by Grady McAllister.

Below: The Galveston Seawall, 1981, just outside the Balinese Room. Hurricane Ike completely demolished the Balinese Room in 2008.

People near entrance to Balinese Room, Galveston, 1981. Photo by Grady McAllister.

Above and next six photos below: The Galveston seawall in front of the fabled Balinese Room, 1981. Click images for a larger view.

Situated on a pier, the Balinese Room was demolished by Hurricane Ike in 2008. A September 20, 2008, Associated Press story stated.
"From the '30s to the '50s, one writer observed, Galveston was 'every bit as thoroughly controlled by the Mob as Atlantic City.'

"Much of that alleged activity revolved around the famed Balinese Room, a nightclub and casino that hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Jack Benny and the Marx Brothers.

"The nightclub stood at the end of a 600-foot pier, just beyond the flood wall. As the stories go, by the time raiding police officers made it to the end, the doorman had tipped off the revelers, and roulette wheels were flipped over

to reveal ordinary looking dining tables."

By the way, I never went inside the Balinese Room myself. I just happened to take some pictures outside of it.

Below: Two friends enjoy their Coors in front of the Balinese Room. The rules were different in 1981. You can no longer drink alcohol on the seawall sidewalk.

Drinking Coors beer in front of Balinese Room, 1981. Photo by Grady McAllister.

Skaters in front of entrance to Balinese Room, Galveston, 1981. Photo by Grady McAllister.

Steps to the Balinese Room entrance.Photo by Grady McAllister.

Skaters in front of entrance to Balinese Room, Galveston, 1981. Photo by Grady McAllister.

A skater falls in front of Balinese Room, Galveston, 1981. Photo by Grady McAllister.

Above: A skater takes a sudden spill in front of the Balinese Room, 1981