Segue Fever: Time of the Wolves

There’s a world of difference between the lo-fi orbit of The Mountain Goats and big time rockers Green Day — but these are two songs meant to be played back to back.

The Mountain Goats, obscure by any standard, became much less so when this song showed up at the end of an episode of The Walking Dead. And Green Day? Nothing obscure about them, but it still impresses me that they made it big at a time when most mainstream music was pretty boring.

Foto Friday

Pigs – Rupert, VT

Don’t Call Me Blogger

Look, I’ve been doing this for a long time.

There’s something about being called “blogger” that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the face people make when they say it — or that they put it in quotes, as seen in the previous sentence. In polite society, the title blogger seems to fall somewhere between panhandler and pornographer, so it’s time for a change.

From now on, my title here on the blog is Social Media Strategist and Interactive Audience Manager. I think that befits my years of experience in doing this and better describes my role here at Keyboard Krumbs.

Maybe I can’t give myself a raise, but who needs money when you have a fancy title?

Mickey and Me

We were sitting in a box at Saratoga one fine August afternoon. I know that sounds fancy, but if you’ve ever sat in one those boxes you know it’s more cramped than glamorous. And if you’re like me you’d rather be at a picnic table with a cooler full of beer.

It was hard not to notice the activity behind us as a stream of people stopped to say hello to an older man in nearby box. We almost fell off our uncomfortable chairs when it dawned on us that it was Mickey Rooney.

Rooney was sitting alone with his racing form, about as far away from the finish line as you could get and still be in one of the “exclusive” boxes.

Now, working in TV I’d met tons of well-known people — the most famous of whom was Oprah Winfrey. But Mickey Rooney? He was a freakin’ legend. Regardless, we did our best to play it cool, acknowledging him without seeming like amateurs. We inquired with our waiter about sending over a drink, not knowing he’d knocked off the booze years before.

So we went back and forth with a little small talk about the races and such, without being intrusive. Today I would have invited him to sit at our box; it didn’t occur to me at the time that he actually might have joined us.

Eventually, Mr. Rooney let on that he had a well placed tip on one of the races. A tip? From Mickey Rooney? This we must bet, and not just our small time $2 wagers — no, at 10-1, this was more of a $20 or $30 to win sort of bet.

Naturally, we all lost money on that one.

Nothing was said about the sure thing that was not so sure. If only we could have had a preview of Mickey Rooney’s obituary we would have known that he’d visited many racetracks in his lifetime, and more often than not, made impressive contributions to the sport of kings.

So, here’s to Mickey Rooney. He never lost his taste for the ponies — or his ability to charm an audience.

For the Record

recordsThis comic somebody posted on Facebook really caught my attention.

I’ve told my kids about the days before iTunes, when you’d have to go to a store to buy music. Yes, there were even stores that sold nothing but vinyl records! Really, it’s true!
Making a special trip made music buying a ritual. From my house you could walk to Korvettes or to Record World at Roosevelt Field Mall.

Korvettes, while it had a smaller selection, always had the best price. Record World was more for connoisseurs — plus, going to the mall meant the compulsory visit to World Imports to see the groovy dayglo posters in the back and gawk at the bongs in the head shop.

Then you’d walk back home. Unseal the package, take out the inner sleeve — it always felt like a bonus when it was a printed inner sleeve — and put your new treasure on the turntable. Was there anything as good as that first perfectly pristine play of a new record?

Don’t get me wrong, I love that anything I want to hear is a click away. Everything is so easy now. Back then nothing was a click away.

Time To Kill the Walking Dead

The Walking Dead can be infuriating. Part of me enjoys the survivor story that never seems to stop — but part of me craves a conclusion. Stories have a beginning and an end – they don’t go on forever — and as much as I like the show, I’m ready for the final act.

Think of Walking Dead’s AMC cousins, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Both followed a clear story arc aiming for a destination — and they both featured interesting characters who changed as the series progressed.

Could Breaking Bad still be on the air? Sure. Every week Walt would cook more meth and fend off the latest threat to his empire. Or Mad Men: Don sleeps with someone, gets drunk, loses a big account, has an existential crisis… how long does that stay interesting?

I don’t get the sense that the The Walking Dead knows where it’s going, happy instead rack up big ratings and zombie kills.

Even on MASH, the Korean War eventually ended.

So, I say save the show by killing it. Don’t let it become like the walkers, shambling aimlessly around in the woods for as long as their decaying muscles will carry them.

Having said that, here are the three top rejected Terminus signs:

Terminus: We are here to serve humans.

Terminus: We’d love to have you for dinner.

Terminus: Come for the sanctuary, stay for the B-B-Q.

FLASH Newspaper Website Publishes News

Most people would sooner stick their tongue in an electrical outlet than pay for news online. That’s why it’s so damn exciting that the Daily Gazette has dropped its paywall.

According to All Over Albany, it’s only temporary. Editor Judy Patrick told AOA that the Gazette is upgrading their paywall technology; no word on whether this upgrade will fix the “Free Gazette” trick long used by those in the know to access stories.

Anyway, I’ve noticed something odd while reading the Gazette online: it’s full of news. I keep scrolling down the page expecting to find fluffy, inconsequential content and all I see are freakin’ news stories.

Hey, Gazette! Where are the endless snapshot galleries from local events? Why no silly wire service stories about dogs? What’s this with burying the entertainment news?

The page is so full of news that it looks suspiciously like it was organized by an editor. WTF?

So, Gazette, I rarely give advice, but here’s some for you: have a look at the Times Union and learn a thing or two about what a newspaper website should look like. Then you might have something I’d pay for. Or not.

So, You Want to Rent a Cat?

Here’s something that turned up in my inbox:

I saw your post online about renting one of your cats?  Is this actually a reality.  My roommates and I would love to rent a cat for the spring.  If the offer is no longer on the table do you have any idea where we could get a cat for 2 months but then give it back.

It’s been four years since I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about renting my cats out as rodent control contractors, yet I still get occasional comments and emails from people who are interested in the make-believe service.

It’s hard to tell if people are just pulling my leg. Seriously, I don’t know how much stupider I could have made the blog post. For example: “Maeve can be baited to make her more attractive to mice by rubbing cheese or peanut butter on her head. Rodents find these scents irresistible and will walk right into her clutches.”

I find that people sometimes don’t know when I’m kidding. Do you ever get that dead eyed stare at a meeting when you say something you think is funny and it doesn’t seem to register? It could just be people don’t have a sense of humor. Or they think you’re an idiot. Or maybe a little of both.

It’s hard not to think that there may have been something to the cat rental concept. Maybe if I were just a bit more ambitious I could have been the cat rental king, providing a service the public needs, making a nice living and putting some cats to work doing something useful.

Beer Alarm!

I was in a local convenient store in a not-so-great Albany neighborhood recently when I set off the beer alarm.

Yes the beer alarm.

It seems the South End Stewart’s has the beer cooler rigged with an alarm that goes off when you open the door:

The alarm sounds for as long as the door remains open. It’s possible that this is effort to save energy, a reminder not to keep the door open unnecessarily, but I’m guessing it’s actually a loss prevention measure.

If you’re like me, you feel slightly self-conscious when buying beer at convenience stores. It’s like everyone standing their with their eggs and milk are looking at you saying, “Oh, sure… here’s the miscreant buying beer. You gonna drink those in the car on the way home?”

So, having an alarm go off when you open the cooler doesn’t help.

I’m hoping my wife doesn’t catch wind of this. The thought of an alarm on my refrigerator door at home is beyond disturbing. It’s bad enough she can see me poking my head in there from the family room.